Danbury, Conn. - The NVCC Danbury Center is rapidly outgrowing its current space at 183 Main Street and looking to expand in 2014. While proposals are being reviewed in the next several weeks by the Department of Administrative Services, the College is moving forward with plans for a larger, more varied space and added facilities in the next year.
New space will provide some much-needed room to accommodate the Center’s growing student body, which recently exceeded 1,000 students, as well as to expand core student services like advising, registration, admissions and financial aid assistance. The College also hopes to add a library and a science laboratory and to increase non-credit course offerings, especially in the allied health field.
“We are creatively pushing the limits of our current location,” said Sarah Gager, Interim Dean of Student Services and former director of Danbury Center. The move would represent the second time the College has outgrown its space in Danbury in less than five years.
Gager explained that in Danbury, the College is currently making do by offering hybrid courses, in which class time is split between an online and a physical classroom, in order to “double up” room usage. The Center also recently expanded Saturday course offerings.
NVCC used to offer classes at Danbury High School and Western Connecticut State University (Western), but consolidated offerings shortly after its move to 183 Main Street in 2010.
“If we are going to really expand our presence in Danbury we need to have a sense of permanency,” said Gager. “We want to make a statement that we are ready to take our academic and community partnerships to the next level.”
In fall 2013, the Center began offering degrees in general studies and business management and credit certificates in administrative support and business management. The next step will be to add a liberal arts and science degree, which would provide all of the classes necessary for a student to transfer as a junior to another ConnSCU institution, such as Western.
Gager also hopes to implement more innovative partnerships between the two colleges with a goal of improving student access and retention at both institutions. About 140 students transferred from NVCC Danbury Center to Western in fall 2013.
“We can ease the financial burden for students who don’t have the money or financial aid to attend Western full-time. Western can also send students who are put on academic probation to us and we can provide the comprehensive academic support services to keep them on track,” she said.
To lead these efforts, the College recently hired Tanya Hodges, former director of academic retention and evening programs at Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY, as the Center’s new permanent director. Hodges holds a master’s in educational leadership management and policy from Seton Hall University.
“I look forward to building on the working partnerships that have been established within the community,” said Hodges, who assumed her post on Nov. 1. Hodges also plans to expand outreach efforts in the Danbury area, promote student success and grow course offerings for all students.