SFCC, CMU celebrates new look with the community

Spring semester enrollment is open

The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Eldon Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake West Chamber of Commerce and Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for State Fair Community College-Lake of the Ozarks and Central Methodist University-Lake of the Ozarks last Wednesday evening to commemorate the opening of its new 24,000 square-foot campus.  State Fair Community College president Dr. Marsha Drennon is pictured cutting the ribbon.

The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Eldon Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake West Chamber of Commerce and Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for State Fair Community College-Lake of the Ozarks and Central Methodist University-Lake of the Ozarks last Wednesday evening to commemorate the opening of its new 24,000 square-foot campus. State Fair Community College president Dr. Marsha Drennon is pictured cutting the ribbon.

State Fair Community College-Lake of the Ozarks (SFCC-LOZ) and Central Methodist University-Lake of the Ozarks (CMU) celebrated its new campus location with residents of the Lake community last Wednesday evening.

Both institutions began enrollment for spring semester with a ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate the opening of its new 24,000-square foot campus. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, school dignitaries gave their remarks thanking those who helped make the extraordinary transition possible so both schools could expand their programs and services in the Lake Area.

State Fair Community College president Dr. Marsha Drennon recognized Lake of the Ozarks campus Director John McMahon, who has been the director for two years, for his determinations.

“I’ve received a lot of kudos and positive thoughts and emails about Director John McMahon and his tireless efforts to get up us up out of the basement and upstairs here in the mall. He spent many many hours worked tirelessly with faculty, staff and family members to get us to where we are today,” Drennon said to guests.

She also noted that enrollment at SFCC-LOZ facility is booming due to their educational partnership with CMU.

“Wherever State Fair Community College goes we know that Central Methodist University will be with us as solid partners providing upper level course for our students,” Drennon said.

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Photo courtesy of Dana Kelchner

State Fair Community College and Central Methodist University officials gather for a photo at the ribbon cutting ceremony, which was sponsored by the Lake Area, Eldon Area, Versailles Area and Lake West chambers of commerce. Pictured are Dr. Marsha Drennon, president, State Fair Community College; Gary Noland, president, SFCC Board of Trustees; Judy Parkhurst, vice president, SFCC Board of Trustees; Dr. Brent Bates, vice president for educational and student support services, SFCC; Dr. Marianne Inman, president, Central Methodist University; Mike Ringen, site coordinator, CMU-Lake of the Ozarks; Dr. Rita Gulstad, vice president and dean, CMU; and John McMahon, director, SFCC-Lake of the Ozarks.

Drennon ended by thanking members of SFCC-LOZ’s board of trustees and foundation and introduced CMU president Dr. Marianne Inman. She also illuminated the bond between the two colleges, which are partnered at multiple locations.

“We are honored and pleased to be able to provide higher education opportunities beyond the two year opportunities that State Fair offers and so it wonderful for us to know that we are extending the higher education possibility to so many students in this area,” Inman said. “We thank State Fair for your hospitality and for your consideration and kindness. We have developed our offices and we’re right here together so that anyone coming in can see that State Fair and Central Methodist are united in our purpose, which is to advance the education for individuals and this entire community.”

In addition, Lake resident Lynn Farrell, SFCC-LOZ Foundation executive director and owner of John Farrell Real Estate Company, spoke in behalf of SFCC’s foundation about how its scholarship funding makes a difference in students' lives, and provides the educational opportunities necessary for them to compete in today's workforce.

“It’s so exciting to have individuals that want to attend and we can help them attend by having the foundation board and the opportunities to create scholarships,” Farrell said.

Before the ribbon was cut, president of SFCC-LOZ’s board Gary Noland remarked that the new village facility is beautiful but “it’s not about the bricks and mortar, it’s about opportunity.”

“We are all here for one reason and that’s for the students who are looking for opportunity,” he said.

State Fair Community College has been a part of the Lake Area community since 1982 when the college first offered classes in Camdenton. On Aug. 1, 2005, SFCC-LOZ moved from Camdenton’s Lake Career and Technical Center and opened in the lower level of the Stone Crest Mall in Osage Beach.

According to State Fair, this move allowed the college to expand its services and programs to the community. This fall, SFCC-LOZ moved upstairs in the mall and the new 24,000-square-foot location features twice as much classroom space; a larger computer lab; a commons area for students; complete science center, modern equipment, and more administrative room. The upper-level location also provides better parking, access and visibility.

“When we started out here in 2005 we had 65 students. High school principals down here told me we will never grow as long as we are in that basement, and in fact it was a joke at some of the high schools that we were the basement college,” said McMahon. “I said, ‘if we can’t offer them the facilities that they’re looking for, a real campus environment then we’re going to knock them dead with service.’ So, that’s what we’ve done – care for every student that’s walked through that door.”

McMahon said SFCC-LOZ’s enrollment grew in spite being in the basement and more than 700 students are currently enrolled in their fall semester. His goal is to see 15 percent enrollment growth every year.

McMahon describes the new campus as exciting and friendly with a village look and feel.

“How many campuses do you see like that,” he said. “The kids love it.”

Thomas Trusty, who attend the enrollment event and has been a student at State Fair for five semesters, said he likes the new location because he doesn’t have to walk out in the dark after classes.

He added, “I just like the whole atmosphere here. It’s a lot more open and brighter. There’s smiling faces everyday just like it was everyday downstairs only we get to see each other a lot more up here because it’s a big open area we don’t have to walk down hallways to find everyone.”

In an effort to save money, several student seeking construction degrees worked beside the construction crew to remodel the new location. Craig Scott, a student who worked on the remodel as well as the Camp Pin Oak rebuild, said the new campus had the same friendly feeling from teachers and staff; it’s just a more enjoyable space.

Construction technology student Merle Carter, who also worked on the remodel as well as Camp Pin Oak too, agrees with Scott and said, “the new setting its more spacious, cleaner and more professional.”

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State Fair Community College-Lake of the Ozarks student Thomas Trusty stands with SFCC’s mascot in the center of the new campus at the open enrollment and ribbon cutting event.

Enrollment for the spring semester, which starts Jan. 14, is now open.

SFCC-LOZ offers an Associate of Arts degree, which includes general education courses for transfer to a four-year college or university; an associate of arts in teaching degree; associate of applied science degrees in construction technology, criminal justice, paraprofessional educator and business management, which includes four specialties: marketing/retail, office management, business management and real estate; a professional certificate in real estate appraisal; and certified nurse assistant classes.

SFCC-LOZ also offers complete degree programs online. Choose from an associate of arts degree, a business management degree, or a professional certificate in real estate appraisal. For more information, visit www.sfccmo.edu/online.

For more information about enrolling in SFCC-LOZ classes, visit www.sfccmo.edu/lake, or stop in or call for a personal appointment. Call SFCC–LOZ at 573-348-0888, e-mail Janice Ganther at jganther@sfccmo.edu or stop by during office hours from 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. Evening appointments also are available.

CMU offers classes that meet for eight weeks. Bachelor’s degree programs at CMU-LOZ include accounting, applied science in management, business, child development, criminal justice, early childhood education, elementary education, middle school education, registered nurse to bachelor’s of science in nursing, psychology, sociology and special education.

For more information, contact Mike Ringen, CMU-LOZ site coordinator, by calling 573-693-9011 or by e-mail at mringen@centralmethodist.edu.

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