Loxahatchee Groves campus celebrates five years
Palm Beach State College celebrated the five-year anniversary of its Loxahatchee Groves campus with a small outdoor reception and updates on enrollment, community partnerships and expansion plans.
The Dennis P. Gallon campus, officially named in honor of the College’s former longtime president, opened as the fifth campus on Feb. 27, 2017, to more than 700 students. Today, it serves over 5,000 students annually.
During the District Board of Trustees meeting at the campus May 10, Kimberly Lancaster, dean of academic affairs, and science professors Dr. Vetaley Stashenko and Candace Walker highlighted enhanced educational technology, particularly the virtual Anatomage Lab using 3D technology, and strategic partnerships that have elevated instruction and strengthened ties in the central-western communities. Several community leaders and elected officials, including school board member, Marcia Andrews, attended the meeting and lauded the campus and its leadership.
“Thank you for everything that you do for us,’’ said Wellington Village Mayor Anne Gerwig.
“We’re looking forward to hopefully getting the Dental & Medical Services Technology Building out here. “We’re looking forward to that next phase,” added Loxahatchee Groves Mayor Robert Shorr.
Shorr is referring to the College’s plans to build the second building, pending final approval of $25 million that lawmakers included in next year’s state budget during this year’s legislative session. Currently, the campus includes a three-story, 50,000-square-foot multi-purpose building with classrooms, offices, student support services, computer labs and a 250-seat lecture hall. With the new building, the College plans to relocate its dental health education programs currently housed in a 60-year-old structure on the Lake Worth campus.
In addition to its partnership with the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and other businesses and organizations, the campus also has partnered with Loxahatchee Groves Elementary School to host professional development for teachers, such as STEAM Day (science, technology, engineering, art and math), and provide other services and support.
“The Loxahatchee Groves campus is very important to Wellington as it not only reflects the workforce of the area, but more specifically the unique needs of the Wellington business community,’’ said Scott Sweigart, president of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce. “As a medical hub, the talent coming out of this campus will no doubt be our future leaders and workforce in Wellington.”
Among the other highlights noted were plans for the Julie and John Kime Library Resource Center on the third-floor landing of the existing building to give students access to some of the services available on other campuses with full libraries. The center is made possible through the generosity of the philanthropists whose names it will bear.
The College also celebrated philanthropist Frank DiMino. The existing building bears his name and is the cornerstone for the Dental & Medical Technology Building.
Following the board meeting, attendees moved outside for the celebration, where President Ava L. Parker, J.D., recognized Lancaster for her leadership and campus employees, as well as Gallon and board chairperson Wendy Link for their roles to help bring the campus to fruition. Gallon, who retired in 2015 after 18 years at the helm, expressed again his gratitude for the campus being named in his honor and his excitement for its future plans.
“I’m very proud of the work that is being carried on here,” he said. “It’s certainly a testament to the hard work and dedication that is going to make this institution continue to be a part of addressing the education needs of the citizens of this county.”
Lancaster said with the pandemic occurring three years after the campus opened, it was important to have the “5 Years of Excellence” celebration.
“It’s really to refresh and remind the central-western community that Palm Beach State has a presence here and that we’re here to support dual enrollment, the Associate in Arts degree, health science programs, computer science programs and to support the employers in the community.”
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