York Tech wants your opinion on its center

York Technical College's Chester Center is getting so cramped, that sometimes students have to wait their turn to take tests.

But not for long.

The college plans to open its new Chester Center off S.C. 9 just outside town in time for spring semester, which starts Jan. 7. At 31,000 square feet, the new campus is more than 10 times the size of the building off Saluda Street in Chester where students now cram in classes.

York Tech has planned a series of forums, starting this week, to get public input on the new campus.

The current center's enrollment more than doubled in the past two years, jumping from 82 students in the 2006-07 school year to 211 students in 2007-08.

"The new building is going to allow us to grow and offer more courses," said Chester Center Director Beth Blackwell. "If we stayed here another year or two we wouldn't be able to accommodate students the way we need to."

The $2.6 million facility is nearly built, and college officials expect to move in furniture next month.

The college hopes to schedule classes so students can complete their degree requirements in Chester, saving them a trip to York Tech's main campus in Rock Hill.

Local leaders have said they believe the new center will help Chester County recruit industry and get people jobs.

College officials agree.

"Chester is one of the more economically deprived areas we serve," said Carolyn Stewart, executive vice president for academic and student affairs. "We hope to fill that building and try to make a difference in Chester County."

Voice your opinion about York Technical College's new Chester Center at one of these community forums:

n 5-7 p.m. Monday and 6-8 p.m. Thursday in the Chester High School cafeteria, 1330 J. A. Cochran Bypass, Chester.

n 6-8 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Great Falls High School chorus room, 411 Sunset Ave., Great Falls.

n 6-8 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Lewisville High School media room, 3971 Lewisville High School Road, Richburg.

Details: 803-385-5884

Sign up for classes in Chester

Classes start Jan. 7 at the new Chester Center. Registration opens Nov. 10. Assistance with registration and financial aid is available at the current York Tech Chester Center, 127 Saluda St.

The new center will offer these programs:

n Associate degrees in business with majors in management and administrative office technology

n Associate degree in industrial technology with a major in industrial maintenance technology

n Diplomas in industrial technology with majors in industrial maintenance technology, industrial electricity/electronics and welding.

n Certificates in early childhood development, medical assisting, general studies, university studies, customer service, data entry, office applications, legal office, medical office, transcription, basic electricity, motors and controls, programmable controllers, basic welding.

n Continuing education courses in nursing assistant, advanced skilled nursing assistant, EKG technician, basic phlebotomy, medication technician, basic EMT, CPR and early childhood education.