Navarro College-Waxahachie campus is gearing up for the first day of school Monday with ongoing registration for students.

Early registration began Aug. 17, which was also the deadline for all financial aid information. Regular registration is from Aug. 27-29.

NCWC has introduced new programs and classes for the 2007-2008 academic year, including industrial management; fast track development program, which is an online program to obtain an associate’s degree and guarantees a job interview upon completion; pre-engineering programs; medical coding; business information technology through the continuing education program; fire academy and protective services programs; real estate programs; paralegal program; and several others.

Director of continuing education, Chris Grams, discussed some of the classes offered.

“In the continuing education and protective services department, our popular classes are our allied health classes, our real estate classes and our computer classes,” Grams said. “We also offer CNA classes, Medicaid classes and real estate classes. We do a lot of basic computer classes and a lot of corporate training with businesses.

“We do grant training for local companies in Ellis County through the Skills Department Grant, which supports Sherwin Williams, James Hardie, Walgreens, AEP and Chaparrel Steel,” he said.

The Texas Workforce Commission recently presented a Skills Department Grant to the office of continuing education at Navarro College in the amount of $236,772. The grant is being used to provide training for the employees of the five companies mentioned above. Training will include such courses as leadership, lean methodology, finance, electrical theory, hydraulics and pneumatics, welding and safety. Training began in June and will continue through May 28.

“This brings a total of four grants to the continuing education department since spring 2006 with a total of $674,927 for training,” Grams said. “Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work.”

For the first time this fall, Navarro College will offer a college credit industrial maintenance program in Waxahachie at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy. Students can obtain a certificate of completion in industrial equipment maintenance and repair in 18 months by attending classes two nights per week.

Also beginning this year, students can enroll in Navarro College courses in Ennis from 5-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and earn an associate’s of science degree in two years. Students on this plan will graduate in May 2009 with 63 credit hours. Interested students can submit enrollment paperwork at any of the Navarro College campuses: Corsicana, Waxahachie, Midlothian or Mexia.

Other programs also are offered at Navarro campuses throughout Ellis County.

“We have an honors program and an honors dorm located at our Corsicana campus,” Assistant Dean Terry Gibson said. “We’re also hoping to begin a cosmetologist program in Ellis County, whereas students can begin classes at the Corsicana campus and then transfer here once it’s established here.

“We offer an LVN program at our Midlothian campus,” she continued. “Most of our students are taking transfer coursework with hopes of transferring to a university.”

Dr. Harold Nolte, who serves as president of the Ellis County campuses, discussed the success of the dual credit program, which is designed to help high school students take college courses while still enrolled in high school.

“We have a large dual credit program,” he said. “We have over 1,000 high school students in our dual credit throughout the county.”

Gibson identified increasing enrollment as the school’s main objective.

“Growth is really what we want to see,” she said. “In order to do that, we’d like to add more programs, so we are in the process of ascertaining what they are. We would like to expand our dual credit program and help parents save money. As far as enrollment is concerned, we’ve experienced an increase for as long as we’ve been here.

“Right now, it’s too early to tell about this year’s enrollment status, but our Midlothian campus took everyone by surprise last year,” she said. “They expected a couple hundred students but ended up with 500 students their very first year.”

Last year’s enrollment at NCWC was 2,137 students for the fall semester and 2,131 students for the spring semester.

Two educational buildings are being completed to help alleviate overcrowding on the Waxahachie campus.

The one-story, 22,000-square feet classroom building will house 12 classrooms, nine faculty offices, developmental math labs, chemistry and physics labs, computer-based technology labs and other areas of interest.

The one-story, 12,000-square feet continuing education and protective services building will house eight classrooms and two fire bays. This building will offer emergency medical technology classes, fire academy classes, new police academy classes, a paramedics program and EMT classes.

“We have so many students who want to take classes but we just do not have enough space so these buildings will help us out a lot,” Gibson said. “We’re also hoping to improve our services to students by being able to spread out a little bit more by using about 90 to 100 percent of our main building.

“Our goal is to have several more buildings within the next two years because we can see the growth and the demand for our services,” she said. “For the time being, we will renovate and continue to use our main building.”

NCWC welcomes 15 full-time instructors and a several part-time instructors, with the possibility of hiring a new assistant dean to assist Gibson, who said she is looking forward to the upcoming academic year.

“Learning is a lifetime endeavor and we want the students to learn how to think critically and how to be positive contributors to the community,” she said. “We want the young students to grow, think and lead our community. We also want our students to go and have a positive economic impact on the Ellis County economy because some people have no idea how much of an impact it really is.”

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@waxahachiedailylight.com