Demand causes FDTC to expand - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Demand causes FDTC to expand

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence-Darlington Technical College is growing both academically and physically to keep up with the demand for affordable education.

"Higher education used to be a nice thing to have and now it's become a must so the college is working very hard to make it more accessible to everyone," said Shelley Fortin, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs for Florence-Darlington Technical College.

For the first time, the school is offering a 12-week semester. Students can choose between 70 different day and night classes that will be condensed from the usual 15 weeks to fit into the shorter time frame. Both general education and classes specific to various majors will be offered.

So far, more than 400 students have signed up for the new session and the college expects demand to continue to grow as the start date approaches.

Fortin said FDTC registration is usually busiest right before classes begin with many students trying to get in last minute. The school decided to create an option that starts a few weeks later for those who need more time to prepare for classes.

"Then they have a chance to get their financial aid done, to get their childcare, to get all their ducks in a row then they can be focused on what's being presented to them in the classroom," she said.

Students can sign up until the 12 week classes start February 2.

The school's fall semester enrollment was record-breaking and online enrollment has also grown by 50% over the past six years.

FDTC is in the process of adding additional parking to its campus. Construction will begin in the summer on a new automotive building.

"The drive and demand is building the building as we get bigger and more people want to come, we do have to expand with buildings and services."

Within the next ten years, the school will be knocking down two buildings to build a four-story academic building and more parking. That will keep the perimeter of the school dedicated to parking and make the inner part of campus more pedestrian friendly.

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