|Northern Virginia Community College officials gathered in Woodbridge on Friday to help kick off the campus’s first major expansion project in more than two decades.
Scheduled to open in fall 2012, the $25 million academic building will allow students to move out of the double-wide trailers that the school has been using to support an almost 25 percent growth in the student population over the past nine years.
“The college as a whole is growing, but Prince William area enrollment between Manassas and Woodbridge is leading Northern Virginia,” Woodbridge Campus Provost Sam Hill said. “Students and families who normally go to a four-year college are discovering the value and education opportunity we offer.”
Hill said there are about 10,000 students enrolled at the Woodbridge campus. The increase in student population at both Prince William area campuses aligns with the county’s explosive growth. The downturn in the economy also has people turning to community colleges for its affordability, and because some four-year institutions are accepting fewer students, NVCC officials said.
The school’s agreement with Virginia’s four-year institutions, guaranteeing admission after students complete two years at NVCC, has also contributed to the spike in the community college’s population, said Dana Kauffman, NVCC’s community relations director.
The student population growth throughout the community college prompted the state to fund the expansions at several NVCC campuses, including the 84,000-square-foot facility in Woodbridge. Hill said the building will include science labs, classrooms, an art gallery, library, cafeteria and a theater.