SCC President Henry Giles said that, while classes at the downtown Evans Academic Center began Monday, the building’s contractor will remain on site through the end of the month to tie up loose ends.
At least 589 students have signed up for classes at the downtown campus, part of an estimated student body of more than 5,200 who began the Fall semester Monday morning.
The contractor’s work, which includes installing molding and other minor projects, will not affect classes, Giles told members of the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical and Community Education.
Giles, who spoke at length on the downtown campus, also presented two land deals that would help expand the size of SCC’s Cherokee County campus.
The school has executed options to purchase two tracts of land adjacent to the campus off S.C. 11, he said.
The purchases were unanimously approved by commissioners, but are contingent upon state approval and environmental studies.
The tracts, 7.17 acres and 8.5 acres, will extend the campus toward I-85. Both are located on Peachoid Road, which runs adjacent to the Interstate.
The smaller tract is appraised at $350,000. The larger is appraised at $420,000, Giles said. Officials have agreed to purchase both tracts for their appraised values.
Giles said there were no immediate plans to grow into those areas, but said the land will be partially cleared to help make the campus more visible from the Interstate.
“It will set a tone for that campus,” Giles said.
The purchases are part of a long-term view of the Cherokee campus, he said, calling them an “investment in the future.”
SCC is already looking to expand the Cherokee campus and is working on plans to build on the existing campus, which houses several manufacturing programs.
Commissioners approved Giles’ request to explore a Community Development Block Grant from the S.C. Department of Commerce to help fund that new building.
The $500,000 grant would require some administrative wrangling, Giles said. To qualify, the school would have to lease land for the new building to Cherokee County, who would then apply for the grant.
The building would then be leased back to the college for a nominal fee and would eventually revert back to SCC ownership, Giles said.
The Cherokee County campus currently has about 550 students enrolled, officials said Monday.
The college’s overall enrollment of 5,249 is down about 2 percent from last Fall’s enrollment of 5,354, officials said. But numbers will not be finalized until mid-October.
The decline came from fewer returning students, officials said. There was a roughly 7 percent decline in returning students, while first-time students were up 4.6 percent.
In other business, commissioners also received drafts of year-end budget summaries and the upcoming year budget report, approved employee play plans for the year and were given an update on the Affordable Care Act.