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WMCC seeks $7 million for Science & Technology Ctr., South Wing renovation


April 07, 2010
BERLIN — Over $7 million will be sought from the state Legislature for additions and revovations at White Mountains Community College. Plans are to build a new three-story Science and Technology Center and to renovate the South Wing of existing main classroom building in Berlin.

On Thursday evening, April 1, WMCC president Kathy Eneguess outlined the goals of the new, updated Master Plan, which pushes back a previously "must-have" hospitality and convention center planned at the Twitchell House.

The proposed $4.7 million Science and Tech Center would be built on the west side of Route 16, connected by a tunnel to the main campus. "We'll have to tip the barn over," President Eneguess explained. The new Center — patterned after the existing barn in a schematic drawing — would house the surveying and Geographic Information System (GIS) programs, as well as environmental science and CISCO labs and classes.

Moving some programs to the new West Campus, where president Eneguess now maintains her administrative offices, would open up classroom space for other programs and activities in the existing main building.

The $2.5 million South Wing renovation would be used to create a new One-Stop student services suite, new library entrance, and updates to existing classrooms that would be "repurposed."

Three members of the 11-member county delegation — chairman Rep. Robert Theberge of Berlin, vice chairman Rep. Bill Hatch of Gorham, and Rep. Bill Remick of Lancaster — were on hand to hear the College's Legislative agenda as well as to enjoy a sumptuous international dinner prepared by the WMCC Culinary Arts students.

The National Science Foundation has embraced the use of simulation, and techniques by which physics and engineering are taught at WMCC are now being exported to a worldwide audience.

Nursing Program Director John Colbath and nursing faculty member Beth Dowse also discussed how they have traded in low-fidelity mannequins for high-fidelity SimMan and SimWoman models that boast realistic anatomy and clinical functionality.

Director of the Business Training Center and Community Education Center John Dyer screened two YouTube videos of nursing students in other college settings that showed how very much more sophisticated these new talking, coughing, and beating-heart SimPatients are. These simulated patients are designed to give students hands-on practice in simulated clinical settings in which minutes count, just as they do in hospitals and clinical settings.

President Eneguess credited Senator Judd Gregg and Congressman Paul Hodes for securing a $240,000-plus driver training simulator, complete with mobile trailer, that is designed for truck, bus, police, and fire-engine drivers seeking a Commericial Drivers License (CDL) or fulfilling needed on-the-road refresher course hours.

WMCC had 1,267 students enrolled in the Fall 2009, of which 66.6 percent were part-time and 33.4 percent full-time, which is defined enrolled in more than 12 credits. Of these, 65.4 percent were female, and 34.5 percent male. These numbers represent a 100 percent increase in Full-time Equivalents (FTEs) in a decade's time, President Eneguess reported.

The student population includes recent high school graduates and also those who — often years before — earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees, along with young people who have only worked part-time jobs and formerly full-time workers whose companies now longer remain in business and are now seeking a new career, she said.

WMCC is embedded in the community, President Eneguess said happily. "College Advisory Committees help keep programs close to industry; we balance our mission to the market," she said.

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges recently accredited WMCC for 10 years, and students can transfer their credits to four-year colleges and universities.

The WMCC Baking and Pastry Arts program sets the state-of-the art standard, not only in New Hampshire but also across New England, President Eneguess bragged.

A new hospitality curriculum is being developed, and consultant Lisa Perras of Groveton, a hospitality and business teacher at WMRHS in Whitefield, will be on board at WMCC over the summer.

Two initiatives are being coordinated by WMCC: the Talent Team, aimed at preparing individuals and businesses to maximize the benefits that will be on hand when the federal prison opens, and the North Country New Business Launch Pad, designed to provide training and support to aspiring business owners in Cos, Northern Grafton and Northern Carroll Counties.

Chancellor Richard Gustafson of the Community College System of New Hampshire spoke briefly, and he and President Eneguess welcomed trustees, advisory committee members and both adjunct and full professors, as well as community leaders, including Berlin Superintendent of Schools Corinne Cascadden, administrator Jeannette Morneau of the Cos County Nursing Home, and Peter Benson of the North Country Region of the N. H. Charitable Foundation.

Martin Lord Osman
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