VTC looks to downsize one campus, expand another

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RANDOLPH, Vt. (WCAX) Earlier this week, we told you about how the Vermont State College system is shifting gears, looking to individual campuses to increase enrollment and improve their finances. Now, our Calvin Cutler is digging deeper into Vermont Tech's plans to right-size their facilities.

The college has a mix of four-year traditional students and students who work full time and take classes on the side. In an effort to accommodate all of the school is making some changes. VTC is looking to expand enrollment by shifting resources-- closing part of the Randolph campus and opening a new facility in Williston where they are bursting at the seams.

"Making sure we have the right sized classroom for the right size class, and that there's enough space for students to test and so forth, and for them to work in groups and do other activities, as well. That's the biggest challenge on campus right now," said Jean-Marie Clark, the dean of the VTC Williston campus.

The Williston campus was born in the '90s out of a partnership with IBM. It serves about 600 students, mostly commuters and part-timers.

The school here is demolishing two buildings, replacing them with office space for faculty so they can convert old offices into classrooms.

"We emphasize practical, hands-on education. So there's a lot of lectures and labs. Students might spend an hour in a lecture and three hours in the lab practicing what they just learned. That's something you can't do online. You have to have ways to have people physically come in and physically work with the machinery or the animals or the people or whatever the case may be," said Patricia Moulton, the president of VTC.

Moulton says investing in Williston means greater opportunities for adult students and people who work full time.

"We work really well for folks that can drop everything and come to school for two or four years. We've got to figure out how to facilitate and deliver our
programming so students don't need to do that," she said.

But Williston's gain is not Randolph's loss. There are 900 students in Randolph, most living in dorms on campus. So they plan to repurpose a couple of buildings and turn them into dorms and meeting space.