Southwestern Michigan College: Summer translates into renovation

Published 9:47 pm Monday, July 16, 2012



Southwestern Michigan College

One of the most often asked questions to our employees this time of year is: “Is Southwestern Michigan College staff off for the summer?”

While students who attend K-12 schools are enjoying their summer vacation, colleges and universities continue to offer classes during the summer session.

Students find the summer semester beneficial for completing their degree requirements or for taking a more difficult class without enrolling in a full schedule of coursework.

Summer is also a good time for construction and renovation projects for higher-education institutions.

For Southwestern Michigan College, the summer of 2012 is a very busy one. SMC was ranked in the top 50th-fastest growing public community colleges in the nation in 2011.

Because of this increase in enrollment, the college literally turned office and conference room space into classrooms to accommodate students.

Expanded bookstore

Behind the scenes this summer, we will begin refurbishing museum space to house an expanded bookstore that will open in February 2013. In a partnership with the city of Dowagiac, the museum will move into the former

Behnke Paint and Floor Covering on West Railroad Street near downtown with an opening date in spring 2013.

This move will not only dramatically increase museum exhibit space, but will allow the college to reallocate much needed space for the purpose of increased services to students in the form of a new Student Services Center.

New construction

The new Student Services Center, to be located in the College Service Building, will house admissions, enrollment, advising, registration and financial aid in one location. The new Student Services Center will open June 2013.

More visible projects around the Dowagiac campus this summer are construction of the college’s third student housing facility, located on Mathews Street, and the redesign of our Dailey Road entrance. The new entrance will reopen in mid-August — just in time for fall semester that begins Sept. 4, which means there is still time to register for fall classes.