They were still working feverishly this week: the furniture was being dropped off and moved to its permanent digs, trees were being braced, seals applied here and there, and innumerable final touches were being applied before today’s big event: At 4 this afternoon, Daytona State College’s Flagler Palm Coast campus will hold a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the near-doubling of its campus capacity.
It’s a 24,000 square foot expansion anchored by a stately-looking two level building a few paces behind what’s now bound to be called the older section of campus. The $7.6 million expansion adds 13 state-of-the-art classrooms, a new lecture hall, a campus book store, a student center, and offices for professors and security.
The lecture hall’s design was based on Daytona State’s classroom-of-the- future concepts, says Kent Ryan, dean ofd the Palm Coast campus. This encompasses what Ryan calls “state-of-the-art white boards, projectors and liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. In the lecture hall, the whole board will be a white board, like ‘electronic wall paper.'”
There’s still room left to expand in the future, Ryan says. Altogether, Daytona State has a total of 100 acres, all of which was donated in 1980, which allows for five more additional classroom building of greater or equal size. “Probably, the next classroom will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 42,000 square feet,” says Ryan.
There’s currently no need, as Daytona State has already doubled the size of its student capacity with this expansion. “Each year,” Ryan said, “the college and the 28 colleges around the state, our sister colleges, review our needs based on the population increase. Of course, Palm Coast, the previous years, had increased the fastest, both in our community and in our college. Therefore there was a need for a new building built on this regional campus.”
To get the funding, the expansion had to be approved by the Legislature. According to 2013 census figures, Flagler County’s population grew to just under 100,000 residents, a 2.8 percent increase. Palm Coast had a 2.9 increase bringing its number of residents to more than 75,000. Palm Coast was America’s fastest-growing city for a few years before the housing bust in 2006.
Daytona State’s main campus is in Daytona. The university’s Deltona regional campus is the next largest, followed by this expanded Flagler Palm Coast campus. According to Ryan, the design of the Flagler Palm Coast buildings, as well as their technological inner components, will act as a pilot for future Daytona State buildings.
“We’re looking at all the different electronics that are available today,” Ryan says, “but we all know that that technology changes everyday, but this is the design they’re looking at to replicate at other locations when new buildings are built at Daytona State College.”
Online education, even from Daytona State’s own offerings, will never lessen the need for specialized, in-person attention, he says. “Online is a component that we offer throughout Daytona State College, but it’s one component,” Ryan says. “Our students still require or still like to have the face-to-face or even the hybrid version of a face-to-face, so there’s still a need. It is not reducing the number of people wanting face-to-face.”
In addition to the new building, Daytona State will also be expanding programming. Effective this fall, an Associate of Science degree in business administration will be added. It will include three different components: a certificate for entrepreneurship and salesmanship, one for business administration, and one for business management—the result of requests from the community.
There’ll be two new pilot programs at Flagler Palm Coast and Daytona campuses, which are expected to be expanded to the regional campuses at a later date. One is Introduction to Human Services. The other is called Addiction, Family, and Community. Both programs encompass social work and mental health. The programs are direct reflections of the local education community’s more cohesive work with economic development efforts in the city and the county, as well as social needs.
“We heard what the community leaders were saying and we responded to that,” Ryan said. Specifically, the impetus was the result of summit meetings with business leaders locally and in Daytona, alerting them of the need for more social services—including how to handle substance abuse within the family and the community.
The ribbon cutting runs from 4 to 6 p.m. at 3000 Palm Coast Parkway SE, the northernmost campus. Also featured will be complete tours for the public of the expanded facilities, designed by Schenk Shultz Architecture and built by Orlando’s H.J. High Construction. For more information about the event, call (386)506-3417.