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QCC sees rapid growth

Ceremony opens new Southbridge campus

WESO General Manager Dick Vaughan, left talks with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
October 19, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — Even though Monday's formal grand opening ceremony for Southbridge's Quinsigamond Community College campus was being held in a still-unfinished room, college officials are already predicting they'll need more space next year.

"It looks like we're going to have a real problem," said site administrator Neal LeBlanc. "We'll fill this up next semester."

He predicted the college would seek to use space in the hotel and conference cente, where federal funds created a lecture hall, classrooms and a TV studio rarely used at present.

That need is largely because the new school expected to "serve 500 students, optimistically," said President Gail Carberry, sparking applause when she added, "But we opened the door with 750 seats filled."

Describing the new venture as both "entrepreneurial" and "a really exciting chapter" in the college's history, Carberry said it could not have happened without strong support from local, state and federal officials, the business community, and particularly the college's trustees.

Although the process officially started last November, Carberry said the idea was born in April 2006, when she was being interviewed for her current job. One of the participants was a local student who noted she'd been having "a challenge" getting to the Worcester campus because of transportation and asked if there were ways to provide better access to people in the Southbridge area.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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