WHITE BEAR LAKE, MN-Century College, a two-year community and technical college, is pursuing a major expansion after the Minnesota Legislature approved $8.5 million in capital bonding funds during its session earlier this year.

Plans include renovations to the college’s technology center and the design of a new science/learning center, and a variety of smaller projects. Plans for the new 74,150-sf science/learning resource center include replacing its 35-year-old science labs with modern teaching labs containing up-to-date equipment and technology, and consolidating east and west campus libraries into one updated, efficient library. Century has selected DLR Group as the architect for the new projects.

“This is the first time in 10 years that we have received funds for real facility improvement,” says Larry Litecky, president of Century College. In addition to the state bonding funds, the college has committed operating dollars to complete more than 50 other construction projects, including the remodeling of the west and east campus cafeterias, the renovation of the east campus entry and the remodeling of the Main Commons on west campus.

Included in the new capital bonding money from the Legislature was $4.9 million to remodel the present Transition Wing into the Kopp Technology Center, named after Century College scholarship donor Lee Kopp of Kopp Investment Advisors, who is a key provider of scholarships to students. Also included was $1 million to design and plan a new science/learning resource center.

In addition, Century received $545,000 for the RN nursing laboratory renovation, $545,000 for the pharmacy technician program renovation, $1.1 million to repair the roof of the technology center, and $435,000 for Phase II of the chiller improvement project.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ system, of which Century is a member, will be asking the Legislature for construction money for the new Century science/learning resource center in the 2006 legislative session. The renovations and expansion reflect the growth of the school, which is up 53% in enrollment over the past five years, and now has about 12,000 students, most of them part time.

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