Enrollment increase sparks expansion at Geauga campus

Becky Smith

Dean David Mohan discusses renovation plans for the Geauga campus. A new parking lot and entrance sign for the campus are among the scheduled updates for next year. ABIGAIL S. FISHER | SUMMER KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The Geauga campus is undergoing changes as the campus’ enrollment increases.

Class scheduling has been recently updated, which has led to increased enrollment and the need for more parking and greater visibility from the road.

Within the last year, campus enrollment has grown 18.66 percent between the spring semesters with an increase of 181 students. Full-time equivalency enrollment increased 13.25 percent with an increase of 66 students.

“This growth comes from focusing on the students,” said David Mohan, dean of the Geauga campus and the Twinsburg Center. “The culture here is driven by the profile of the students and the students’ needs.”

The campus administration and staff describe the student body as “time-bound and place-bound.” Many students attend school full-time while working full-time and raising families.

Recently, a committee at the Geauga campus reevaluated scheduling because faculty and staff realized the students needed more flexible class schedules.

Shelley Marshall, network systems manager and a member of the committee, said that after surveying the student body, the conclusion was to offer more evening classes. She said a partnership between the faculty and students on this issue has helped lead to enrollment growth at the campus.

As students enroll at the Geauga campus, parking concerns have increased, leading to the construction of 70 parking lots along with parking lot repairs. A new sign and entrance will also be added to the front of the campus.

“I’m glad they’re expanding the parking lot,” computer technology major Vickie Hummel said. “Improving the parking is a huge help.”

Mohan said school officials are reworking all parking to serve the students, as the width of parking spaces will be increased to 10 feet. Due to harsh winters, many Geauga students drive high-performance vehicles to campus, and Mohan said parking can be difficult in the winter. The parking lot construction and renovation should be complete by Aug. 17.

The new electronic sign and main entrance will help increase the campus’ visibility to motorists passing by the small campus. Mohan said this phase is expected to be complete by mid-October.

The total cost of this summers’ projects is $500,000. Private donors have given $150,000 toward the projects, the state provided $275,000 and the remainder of the money will come from the campus’ fund balance. The campus fund balance is profit the campus has made from the previous school year.

Future construction projects may be on the horizon for the growing campus. Campus administration is discussing the possibility of adding a 600-seat auditorium. Those plans are not yet solidified.

“It’s an exciting time to be here, to see the campus grow and to see the accomplishment we’ve all made as a team,” said Michelle Schuster, Geauga’s director of enrollment management and student services.

Contact regional campuses reporter Becky Smith at [email protected].