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Enrollment slips at Westmoreland County Community College

| Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Spring semester enrollment at Westmoreland County Community College is down about 4 percent over last spring, college President Daniel Obara said Wednesday.

Enrollment after the first week of classes was 6,069 students, but enrollment in WCCC's Late-Start Session, which begins Feb. 7, is still open, Obara said.

The Late-Start Session allows students to complete a full semester of 12 credits in 12 weeks.

Community colleges across the country are experiencing enrollment dips in part because the economy is improving and some funding for unemployed workers to return to work has decreased, said college spokeswoman Anna Marie Palatella.

WCCC's enrollment peaked over the 2009-10 school year — when the recession was at its worst — at more than 7,100 students, she said.

But Obara told trustees during their monthly meeting Wednesday that enrollment at the college's satellite education centers increased an average of 10 percent.

Education centers in New Kensington and the Mon Valley had the largest increases, with 33 percent and 25 percent, respectively, Obara said.

In other business, trustees approved college participation in a PennDOT grant program, administered by the Westmoreland County Conservation District, to improve stormwater management along Cherry Creek and Armbrust Road.

The project extends work done last summer to improve drainage and control flow into a tributary of Sewickley Creek.

The first phase will include building an additional rain garden by Founders Hall and cleaning channels along Armbrust Road from College Drive to the end of the parking lot to remove sediment and provide plantings. The second phase aims to install new plantings and improve drainage around parking lot B.

The project's $150,000 cost will be funded entirely by the state and no college money will be used.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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