Expansion of Coker College under way - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Expansion of Coker College under way

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HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) Coker College has broken ground on new housing units. College administrators said this is only phase one of a six phase project.

College students said the new developments on campus have created a buzz in the student body.

Dr. Jason Umfress, Dean of Students said this move is apart of the new vision that the college board members put into place. Dr. Umfress said the college had to build new housing units to handle the influx of students the school is expecting to take on.

Currently the school has around 1,100 students. Administrators are expecting to grow that number to 1,500.

The housing units will feature four bedroom apartments, living areas and common areas.  The building will be able to house 48 beds and a large balcony to enhance dorm life experience. Dr. Umfress said Coker places a strong emphasis on the "dorm experience" because it reflects what's happening in the classroom.

All the developments at Coker are in direct correlation with what's happening in the city of Hartsville.

Mayor Mel Pennington said that he is excited to see the growth on campus because it's one more sign the city is growing.

The new construction on campus is just blocks away from a new hotel being built in Hartsville.

Pennington said he's proud to see the city growing in such a sluggish economy.

"Yes, Hartsville definitely caters to my internship needs, when I start doing my internship because there are a lot of companies willing to help," said Heidrun Kristmundsdottir.

School administrators agree that industries surrounding the city allow students to take on internships.

Those internships could possible lead to jobs, causing the city to continue to grow.

With jobs available in Hartsville students tell me they may be willing to stay. Keeping the skills they learn at Coker, in the local community.

The first phase of the college's developments will be completed by summer of 2013.

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