by Victor Lopez
PERMIAN BASIN -- Midland College isn't the only campus in the Permian Basin seeing new buildings going up. A booming economy is playing a major role in an increase in student enrollment at campuses across the basin, including UTPB.
According to Bill Fannin, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at UTPB, "Our enrollments to date are running ahead of last year's, which was a record year. This will be our 8th consecutive year of growth here at the UTPB campus."
Fannin says there are several reasons why enrollment is running high this year. One is the National Accreditations they've received. Another comes from a more local source, "I think the economy, this robust economy, is helping enrollment."
He goes on to say, "We've had quite a bit of growth in the graduate school this year, from people who are coming back and improving their skills to be ready for this growing economy in the Permian Basin."
New on the UTPB campus in recent years, are the library and the visual arts studio. Under construction now, the new science and technology complex, with a new student multi-purpose center to follow. And the cherry on top?
"The Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center which will be out on the CEED campus. It's going to be, of course, a world class performance center for both theatre and music and will provide a great venue for our Fine Arts Program," Fannin said.
Midland College is also building to fit the needs of it's growing student population. With over 6,500 students enrolled in credit programs school officials say they need more space and more amenities to serve those students.
President, Dr. Steve Thomas says, there's plenty more to come on his campus, other than the new academic building, "It's just amazing when you drive around campus. Our physical education building is under construction. Our student center is under construction. We have expansion of our science building. We are adding a new wing to our Child Care and Development Center, adding on to Allied Health Building in partnership with Texas Tech University. It's kind of like, what's "not" going on at Midland College in terms of construction."