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Community college off to great start

Classes are going well for Jefferson State Community College.

Don Hand, who works for the college in enrollment services, said they have about 250 students who attend classes at the old McKinnon Toyota showroom. About 10 classes are being offered right now. Physics, chemistry and biology classes with laboratories will begin next month upon completion of the school’s 34,000 square-foot education building.

“Everything is going really good right now,” Hand said.

Jefferson State is comprised of four sites in addition to the Chilton-Clanton campus. The main campus is located in the Birmingham neighborhood of Center Point. There are also sites in Moody, Pell City and Valleydale Road in Shelby County.

Hand said having a two-year college campus here locally would help parents and students save money, especially for the first two years of college. Some schools’ tuition could be as much as $20,000 year, but Hand said a student can enroll in a Jeff State class for $307 for a three-hour course.

Not only can regular students decide to come, senior citizens can take classes at the school for $100 a class provided that the class isn’t already full.

The school also offers small class sizes.

“Classes will never have more than 17 or 18 students in each class,” Hand said. “We have one class with only six students.”

Jefferson State doesn’t require a certain ACT score to be accepted, unlike most four-year schools.

“Jefferson State has an open door policy. We will accept you regardless of your ACT score,” Hand said. “You will probably have to take some entrance tests to see whether you are able to enter the regular college level courses.”

Hand said students could transfer to four-year schools as long as they keep their grades up according to each college or university’s requirements.

The school will later offer additional classes and open up its dual enrollment program.

Once the education building is completed, Jefferson State will begin working on a 54,000 square-foot civic center that will have an industrial kitchen and an 1,800 seat auditorium.

“I think Jefferson State will be a great asset to the community,” Hand said.

– Brent Maze can be reached by brent.maze@clantonadvertiser.com.