BC3 Cranberry plan adds classrooms, lab, faculty space

| Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Butler County Community College's Cranberry campus will undergo $1.2 million in renovations this year or next, school officials say.

The school opened the Cranberry campus in 1987 and moved it to a new building on Executive Drive in 1990.

Although the school completed exterior renovations last year, the interior of the building has never been renovated.

“Twenty-two years is a long time, when you think that even carpeting has probably never been replaced,” school spokeswoman Susan Chagnon said.

Renovations would add classrooms to the 23,000-square-foot building by dividing larger classrooms into several smaller ones. The school also plans to add a life sciences lab and more space for faculty.

The Cranberry campus enrolls 450 to 500 full-time students and about 350 people who take noncredit classes.

“We are at 100 percent capacity in the evenings, Monday through Thursday. This campus really serves southern Butler County well. The main campus in Butler is a much longer trip for many of our students,” said Cranberry campus Director Alex Gladis.

The school's plans hinge on getting a capital grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. BC3 plans to submit the application in March and expects to hear back from the state by June, said Chagnon.

“If we don't get the funds to do the renovations next year, we'll do the renovations in 2015,” Chagnon said.

The school is required to match the state's contribution. Chagnon said the school is almost certain to get a state grant because the money is being used for an academic renovation.

The renovations are likely to take place over the summer, Gladis said.

“Summer would be the ideal time for the work because enrollment is lower that fall or spring semesters. Even in the summer, we still will have to look for alternate space for our classes,” he said.

BC3 Cranberry offers 11 majors, including pre-nursing and business.

The school offers 75 to 80 classes for credit each semester, said Gladis.

Each semester, 20 of the school's noncredit classes are held at the Seneca Valley School District's main campus and another four classes are held at the Mars Area School District.

“Those classes can be anything from ballroom dancing to scuba diving to drawing classes,” Gladis said.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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