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A palpable sense of excitement at College of So. Maryland

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on September 27, 2001:

Senator Dyson Three years ago, it was at death’s door, mired in political squabbles between all three Southern Maryland counties. Fortunately, with the help of lobbying by my colleagues in the Southern Maryland Delegation, we were able to hammer out a compromise deal that helped Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties come together to agree to form the College of Southern Maryland. And by looking at the palpable excitement exuded by the school’s administrators, instructors and most importantly, the students; I am delighted that a political quagmire at one point has instead turned out to be a wonderful commodity for Southern Maryland.

The College of Southern Maryland is expected soon to announce that this year will be the highest enrollment of students it has ever had. Be it the Charles, Prince Frederick or Leonardtown campuses, smiles and enthusiasm about this “new” institution are abundant.

In July, the CSM celebrated its first year anniversary.

“We’ve had a great year,” CSM President Elaine Ryan said. “The support from the community has been incredible. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

Total credit enrollment at the college has continued to increase since last fall including a 6.7 percent increase in the fall, 5.9 percent in the spring and 12.4 in the summer. The college’s non-traditional courses, meaning web-based and telecourses, comprised 17.7 percent of all credits this past summer, compared to eight percent a year ago.

Because demand is so high for more flexible, user-friendly programs, CSM has added 11 online programs including a weekend college that is mainly benefitting the adult population choosing to begin a college education or continue their education.

At the St. Mary’s campus, enrollment is up 14 percent and some major capital improvement projects are in the works. Groundbreaking for a new academic building is expected to be held at the beginning of next year with an opening date scheduled for 12 to 18 months. This building will feature more classrooms, laboratories for health technology, business and industry, printing and graphics and photonics. It will also feature a conference center for use by outside businesses.

As conference space is limited in Southern Maryland, this will be a real economic asset to the community.

By FY2004, another building is expected to be constructed in Leonardtown that will be a wellness center and include an indoor swimming pool.

While the Calvert campus is currently crowded and outdated, that won’t last long. Groundbreaking on the new multi-million dollar state-of-the art campus to be located off Route 231 is expected to be held in the fall and its tentative opening is slated for February 2003. Until then, all efforts are successfully being made to accommodate students at the Broomes Island campus.

As opposed to the Broomes Island site, the new Prince Frederick campus will feature brand new and larger classrooms as well as faculty office space, a career advisement center and the centerpiece of the facility, a major learning resource center. More programs will also be available once the new Prince Frederick campus opens, most notably the second-year nursing program. Currently, nursing students who attend classes at Broomes Island have to travel to the campus in La Plata to complete their second year of the program. So, there is great anticipation for this new building.

The La Plata campus is currently undergoing a renovation of the college’s oldest structure, the Administration Building. This 32-year-old building will accommodate most enrollment management functions which include admissions, orientation, career/educational advising services, records, registration and student accounts receivable. It will also house most of the financial services offices, provide an express student services center and comply with ADA requirements including an elevator.

When I was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1974, one of the first meetings I attended as a public official was with the board of trustees of what was then the Charles County Community College. The president and the board had a great vision for the future of the school. It was exciting to listen to, but hard to imagine. Now, 27 years after entering public service this vision that was just a dream in 1974 has become an extraordinary reality that is benefiting more students than we ever expected it would back then.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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