SCRANTON — Just in time for the fall semester, Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) opened its new Lackawanna County center in the Marketplace at Steamtown. It’s the first dedicated LCCC site in Lackawanna County.
Board of Trustees Chairwoman Susan Unvarsky noted that malls aren’t what they used to be.
“Malls aren’t anchored by department stores anymore,” she said as she stood in the common area of the new site.
The 13-classroom area is in the former Bon-Ton Department Store, located across the mall from Boscov’s, another marketplace anchor.
“The energy (in the room) reinforces the right decision,” LCCC President Tom Leary said during his remarks, noting the process took two and a half years. “We toured 35 sites before we made our decision. … And we came back to Steamtown.”
Leary said said over the course of the school year they will hire up to 35 adjunct faculty.
The first day of classes, Aug. 29, is also the first day on the job for Michelle Ide, who will be the director of the Scranton Extension Center.
Ide has worked in higher education for over 18 years, including doing admissions and registrar work.
“We want to provide access to the students of Lackawanna County,” she said about having a central location in downtown Scranton.
Representatives from the Luzerne County Transportation Authority were also on hand for the opening. Bus route 17 services the Mall.
Norm Gavlick, executive director of LCTA, said the authority wants to partner with LCCC and the new ownership of the Mall to promote public transportation for Luzerne County residents that are interested in using the center.
Leary said the college has held registration in Scranton since mid-summer and some of the classes are full.
The Scranton site will allow the college to have “traditional” 14-week semesters as well as accelerated seven-week classes. Currently there are 11 associate programs and three certificates offered.
The president said he was shocked to find out the site would be ready to go for classes, but after a tour of the site, he knows it will be ready. There are some minor adjustments to be done, like moving in final furniture, but all the chairs and desks are in place.
Since the decisions to anchor in Scranton, Leary noted several collaboration projects in the works with Scranton-based four-year colleges.
“It’s a great team effort,” Leary said.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko