The Community College of Philadelphia’s (CCP) West Regional Center will soon have an expanded facility offering additional services and facilities for students this fall.
The West Philadelphia campus on 47th and Chestnut streets is expanding into an adjacent building, which will allow the school enough space for two new computer classes and a learning commons. The new building will expand computer access while providing free tutoring and resources for research.
“We had the opportunity to least some additional space that is adjacent to our building, we could literally just go through the wall into our new space,” said CCP President Stephen M. Curtis. “We have taken advantage of that. First of all, this increases our physical capacity. Within the new space are the two newest classrooms in the facility now and there are also computer classrooms so we added some great technology.”
According to Curtis, there will also be new office space for faculty. It is the new learning commons which, Curtis said, might be most interesting to students.
“This is a kind of integrated academic-support model which we are trying in several campuses which take library, academic computer and learning lab resources and puts them all in one space,” said Curtis, who added this wasn’t available in one place at the West Philadelphia campus prior to the expansion.
Before this time, these same services were provided in separate areas, Curtis noted were not as comprehensive as the college would have liked.
“The support that we are now able to provide our students at the West Regional Center have really taken a step up,” he said.
While Curtis noted the expansion is not huge, it does provide greater physical capacity and the ability to provide better program and services than it had previously.
There are some advantages to attending regional CCP campuses.
“We have thousands of students at our other three campuses and, for many students, once they try our regional campuses, they often stay,” said Curtis. “Those campuses are smaller, more intimate, everyone knows everyone.”
In fact, Curtis said many CCP students who attend classes at the main campus on 17th and Spring Garden streets also attend regional campuses.
“We find that some of the main campus students now go to regional centers, not so much to go to the classes but to get some of the support services because they can get served even better there,” he said.
For this reason, CCP has spent the last decade improving services offered to students at the three regional centers.
Curtis noted spring enrollment at CCP has expanded over the past years. The increase, however, isn’t due to the physical expansion.
“Students like the convenience of attending in their own neighborhoods and not having to travel across the city to the main campus,” he said. “While the main campus does have a broader range of programs given limitations in resources, all students are given certain services.
“We want to make sure that all of our students can talk to financial aid counselors, we also make sure to provide financial planning workshops, we provide academic advising to help students plan the courses they are going to be taking, we provide counseling; students may have issues in time management or personal issues which might be interfering with their success in the college environment.”
Although Curtis regularly visits all CCP Centers, he noted a distinction about the West Philadelphia branch.
“Of all the campuses we have, I would say the West regional Center is the most tightly connected to the immediate community that it serves,” he said. “The West Center not only serves students but host gatherings and meetings with local groups and organizations in the area as well host special programs from other higher learning institutions such as Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.”