CLINTON TOWNSHIP, MI-Students at Baker College in the township will be able to make use of a new library and other amenities at the suburban Detroit campus.

This month, a $5 million, 50,000-sf new classroom building, complete with space for a new library, radiology lab for medical students and other classrooms will open, as will an additional 200 spaces in the parking lot.

College president Don Torline says the college has also purchased more land nearby in the township to accommodate future growth.

“Through the years 1996-2003 we’ve probably spent $4.5 to $6 million a year, expanding and adding to our location here,” Torline says. “If our current pattern of growth continues, we’ll probably have to start another $3-4 million project.”

The growth of local student enrollment has prompted the building at Baker. In 1990, when Baker first offered classes here in a vacant elementary school building, enrollment was a mere 189 students. By 2001, the number was up to 3,092.

This fall, 4,700 students are enrolled so far, with the first day of class not until Sept. 24.

Clinton Township supervisor Robert Cannon says the college hasn’t only been a source of quality education for the community, it has also played a role in revitalizing the southern end of the township.

“When they purchased several homes fronting 15 Mile Road to expand their campus, they immediately granted an easement to the county to allow 15 Mile to be widened,” Cannon says. “I am positive that had they not done that, that road improvement money would have been spent north of Hall Road (outside the township).”

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