New Student and Wellness Center inaugurated at WMCC trustee dinner

The ribbon cutting was attended by community members and state representatives. Here Representative Robert Theberge paused to say hi to Sister Monique Therriault. (Photo by Sally Manikian) (click for larger version)
April 29, 2009
BERLIN — The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new student center at the White Mountains Community College (WMCC) on April 23 provided an opportunity to review the new developments at the college in the past year.

"Community Colleges are on the move," said Chancellor Richard Gustafson, as they strive to make education accessible and receptive to the needs of the workplace and demands of students. Enrollment is increasing, with an increase of 19 percent at the WMCC in Berlin with 119 new full time students since January.

The WMCC has evolved to meet that demand, the audience learned, as President Kathy Eneguess presented the new construction, new programs, and new resources at the WMCC.

With the completion of the new student and wellness center, as well as the Bistro, the atmosphere at the WMCC has become more student-friendly. "There's a gathering space," said Ms. Eneguess. With couches, soft lighting, as well as a TV, foosball, and a fitness center, it is a space designed for students. Students can already be spotted lounging on the couches, using their laptops or just relaxing between classes.

"They are beginning to take it on as their space," she said, "and that's the point."

The new Bistro is also an improvement on the former cafeteria, with increased natural light due to overhead windows and glass walls.

Attached to the Bistro is the state of the art 1,500 square foot kitchen, with ovens that chefs at the Grand Hotels are envious of, said Ms. Eneguess. These kitchens are home to the new baking and pastry programs, and are also being used in community continuing education classes from breads to pastry.

Other new programs that the WMCC added were developed to meet the demands of the workplace. The Welding Program was developed to meet the standards of Bell and Nearing welding company, and the class graduated with a full rate of employment. The Massage program was developed at the request of the Mount Washington Resort's new spa.

The event and dinner honored the community of the college. The meal was prepared and served by the students of the culinary arts program. Faculty were honored for their years of service, from Jack Verani, a 25-year employee of the College to Sheldon "Coot" Towne. Mr. Towne, a 35-year employee of the college who will also be retiring this year, had great success with the "Green Roof" project at the Mt Washington Hotel and Resort.

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