New buildings, new programs and a new university president. These are among the things welcoming students, both new and returning — to area college campuses this month.
At King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, where classes start Monday, an incoming freshman class of 500 will be the sixth largest in the school’s history. The 2013-14 school year also marks the debut of the touted “3+2” engineering dual-degree program the school created in conjunction with The University of Notre Dame.
The program, which will be offered to first-year students this year, will provide King’s students with the opportunity to take math, science and other courses at King’s and transfer to Notre Dame for two years to complete engineering courses in their chosen fields.
Upon completion, students will receive both a bachelor of science degree from King’s College in physics, chemistry or computer science and a bachelor’s degree in one of six engineering disciplines from Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, the college’s five-year master’s Physician Assistant Studies Program has expanded and will start with 113 declared majors. In the past, fewer than 90 were enrolled in the program.
At the Lehman Township campus of Penn State Wilkes-Barre, the 650 students, including 230 first-year students, will notice one unfinished project on campus that’s slated to be completed this fall.
The $1 million Struthers Family Career Services Center will serve students from the region’s five Penn State campuses. The 2,330-square-foot center will have a dedicated career services reception area, a career information center for students, two offices for the principal career service administrators, three interview rooms, a video interview room and a conference room.
One project recently completed on the 54-acre campus is the Student Commons patio renovation. Also on tap for the year is the installation of a new Lion Shrine that will be on par size-wise with the statue on the University Park campus.
It isn’t the size of Wilkes University’s 80th freshman class that’s setting a record — it’s only the second largest of all time — but the number of students who are opting to live on campus that’s one for the history books.
“We’ll have the largest number of freshmen living on campus in history,” said college spokeswoman Vicki Mayk, who noted that 79 percent of the class will live in residence halls. The need for additional rooms meant the Wilkes-Barre-based school reopened two residence halls. In addition, 22 more beds were added to other residence halls.
In addition, there’s the $35 million Lawrence and Sally Cohen Science Center, which opens its doors to students starting with classes on Monday. A formal dedication of the building is planned for Oct. 4.
During the summer, a new nursing simulation center opened in the basement of Stark Learning Center, and on Thursday the university dedicated the refurbished Munson Fieldhouse. Improvements to the fieldhouse include cosmetic changes and new locker rooms.
Misericordia University in Dallas Township welcomes its second largest freshmen class to campus this week, and among those doing the welcoming will be Thomas J. Botzman, the school’s 13th president who took the helm over the summer. With 430 freshmen and 129 transfer students, the school will push its overall enrollment, both part time and full time, to a record of 3,058.
Among the campus changes is the 111 Lake St. Residence Hall, a repurposed former private residence that will be home to 18 upperclassmen.
Luzerne County Community College, based in Nanticoke, welcomes students for the fall semester on Tuesday. In addition to eight new associate’s degrees being offered — biology, chemistry, English, history, psychology, social work, sociology and theatre — students will notice buildings 2 and 9 have been renovated.
Building 9 will have 16 new classrooms, a writing lab, student study areas and a newly renovated Career Services office suite, among other offices. Building 2 will house plumbing, heating and electrical technology classes in newly renovated labs.