By Laci Sutton / Managing Editor-Content
Exciting things are in the works for Hutchinson Community College. From facility renovations to the addition of new programs, HutchCC president Dr. Carter File provides an update on the state of the college and upcoming projects to keep an eye out for.
HutchCC is halfway through another semester. Looking back on the last two years, things seem to finally be returning to normal. COVID-19 brought on many unique challenges, and while everything is not completely back to where it was in 2019, HutchCC seems to be in a much better place now than in 2020 and 2021.
Throughout these challenges, HutchCC president Carter File has kept the student’s and faculty’s safety at the forefront. Following nationwide trends, HutchCC enrollment is a little lower than what it’s been.
“We were down about 1.5%,” File said. “That’s kind of a national trend. Enrollments are soft right now because from an employment perspective, the economy is in pretty good shape. There’s a lot of jobs, and when jobs are plentiful, our enrollment softens. When jobs are scarce, our enrollment tends to go up.”
The Kansas State Legislature continues to support higher education, and thanks to their funding and commitment, institutions like HutchCC are able to prevail through unforeseen circumstances like a global pandemic.
For the last several months, there have been many rumors circulating regarding the tennis courts on the HutchCC campus, located between Gowans Stadium and Shears Technology Center.
File has confirmed the plans for the upcoming improvements. The space will be transformed into a green space and plaza, including an outdoor amphitheater-style classroom.
“It will just be a nice place for students and faculty and staff to congregate and be able to go to relax,” File said.
Performing arts classes can use the space for performances, teachers can reserve the space to hold class outside, and student groups can utilize it as a meeting space. With winter approaching the construction may be slow starting, but File said he expects to get this project underway later this year.
Along with the tennis courts, there are a few other enhancements to be on the lookout for.
Around the same time or shortly after the outdoor classroom, HutchCC will also be working on the courtyard located between Parker Student Union and Lockman Hall.
“We’re going to take out that kiosk and put up some nice shade covers, so everybody should keep an eye out for that,” File said. There is a possibility for improvements to be made to the second floor of the Peel Center located at 9th and Main street. Such renovations could expand the HutchCC nursing program. This project is not confirmed, but is in the beginning planning stages. The cosmetology building, located on East 3rd, will hopefully be seeing some expansions next fall, including the addition of a barbering program. “We do the cosmetology side, now we can do the barbering side.” Dr. File said. “It will give students another opportunity to participate in more tech-ed.” This would be one of (if not the only) barber school offered at a public entity in Kansas.
Blue Dragon Athletics
HutchCC sports have been off to a great start in their seasons with six national rankings. Football and men’s golf hold the number one spots, women’s cross country ranked number two, women’s soccer at 15, men’s cross country at 17, and volleyball at 19. “It’s nice seeing the success of the programs,” Dr. File said. “I’m happy for them. Josh Gooch, the athletic director, does a great job and we are very proud of our Blue Dragon athletics. We’re thrilled with where we’re at.” HutchCC athletes and students alike continue to exhibit true blue excellence.