Editorial: LTCC gives community a cultural, economic boost | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: LTCC gives community a cultural, economic boost

Looking for some good news? Head down Al Tahoe Boulevard and check out Lake Tahoe Community College.

LTCC is a valuable South Shore educational, economic and cultural asset, and the good news is that it’s continually improving.

But before exploring that, we congratulate Sam Fernald.

Sam will graduate from the University of California, San Diego, this spring with degrees in biotechnology and bioengineering. He was the only undergraduate in his class last summer to work on a project with the scientist who mapped the human genome. The computer programming skills he learned at LTCC came in handy.

Sam began taking classes at LTCC while simultaneously attending South Tahoe High School. When he was named 2004 STHS class valedictorian, Sam also picked up associate of arts degrees from LTCC in computer and information sciences.

As the Tahoe Daily Tribune celebrates its 50th anniversary each week, we’re reviewing the community’s major milestones. This week, it was the 1975 inception of Lake Tahoe Community College, which for a time had as its campus a converted motel on Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

Here’s the good news: After a few rough years, the college has reversed its declining enrollment.

Its full-time-equivalent enrollment, projected to be between 1,770 and 1,790, compares with the total in 2002-03, when LTCC was the nation’s eighth-fastest-growing community college. Tuition fees rose over the years from $6 per unit to $17 per unit, but a year ago, a state bill reduced the fee to $13, a price that remains unchanged.

The result: Since last winter, the college’s total enrollment jumped by 172 students, or 5.8 percent. Full-time students increased by 101, or 19.9 percent, and part-time students by 71, or 2.9 percent.

California’s proposed budget calls for a cap on enrollment at its four-year schools, which means the upward trend should continue at LTCC and other community colleges.

There are other factors that make LTCC attractive, too:

— The school has a Good Neighbor Rate for folks from Nevada. It’s actually cheaper for a Nevada resident to attend LTCC than it is to go to a community college in Nevada, according to LTCC public information officer Christina Proctor.

— The 27,000-square-foot library that opened in fall 2007 is a tremendous resource for students and the community. Several organizations are using the library building’s boardroom and Aspen Room as a meeting site. Also included is the 2,000-square-foot Haldan Art Gallery. And did you know that every South Shore resident in El Dorado and Douglas counties is entitled to a free library card?

— The site of the former library now is used for the new Tutorial and Learning Center equipped with an interactive whiteboard system, online instruction tools and two additional classrooms.

— This year’s study abroad programs are art in Spain, sociology in Amsterdam, environmental science in Peru and performance art in Canada.

It isn’t necessary, of course, to be a student to utilize LTCC.

Tonight, the college’s Duke Theater offers a concert with fiddler Joyce Anderson and internationally renowned guitarist Harvey Reid. This quarter’s theatrical production is “2 by 5,” a musical cabaret to be presented in March. The work of sculptor Robert Morrison is featured in the Haldan Art Gallery, the prints of Jonathan Schank are in the Duke’s Foyer Gallery, and the faculty’s work is displayed in the student gallery.

In a town facing economic adversity, it’s heartening to see this cultural icon make such gains.

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