A GOOD YEAR - WCJC expands programs and improves facilities in 2017-2018

August 23, 2018
A GOOD YEAR - WCJC expands programs and improves facilities in 2017-2018

Work continues on Wharton County Junior College’s Johnson Health Occupations Center. A $6.5 million project will expand and renovate the facility, allowing the college to offer cutting-edge training required for successful employment in the healthcare field.

WHARTON, TEXAS – From expanding programs to completing building additions to generating easier pathways for student achievement, Wharton County Junior College has taken a proactive approach this past year in providing students with the best resources available for achieving academic success.

“We take our role in the community very seriously and are continually looking for ways to improve what we do and how we do it,” said WCJC President Betty McCrohan. “We want our students to be able to achieve their goals in the most efficient and beneficial way possible.”

This past year, the college undertook two major building projects. The first entailed the renovation of 9,000 square feet of space and the construction of a 3,600 square foot addition at the Richmond Campus. The $1.75 million project will enable the college to expand its Process Technology and Cosmetology programs. An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held this past June.

The second project, which is still ongoing, is the expansion and renovation of the Johnson Health Occupations Center (JHOC) on the main campus in Wharton. The $6.5 million project will allow the college to offer cutting-edge training required for successful employment in the healthcare field. The JHOC contains the bulk of the college’s Allied Health programs, including Associate Degree Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Health Information Technology, Human Services, Physical Therapist Assistant, Radiologic Technology, Vocational Nursing and Pre-baccalaureate Nursing. The college’s EMS program will relocate to the building once the project is completed. An official ribbon cutting ceremony will be announced at a later date.

In addition to the new construction, WCJC also renovated classroom space at its Bay City Campus to accommodate the expansion of the EMS program. Beginning in the Fall 2018 semester, the college for the first time will be able to offer an Emergency Medical Technician class at the facility in order to create more localized training opportunities for area students.

Increasing opportunities for students is part of the motivation for the college’s ongoing participation in the Realizing Our Academic Reward (ROAR) Academy, a collaborative effort between WCJC and Wharton Independent School District that for the past four years has enabled high school students the opportunity to earn upwards of 60 college-level credits while still enrolled in high school. Seven students made history this past May after earning enough credits to obtain an associate’s degree just days before receiving their high school diplomas. Thanks to the college’s support, the ROAR program is offered at no charge to qualified students.

Student success is one of the college’s primary goals and is at the heart of this past year’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a comprehensive initiative aimed at helping students achieve educational goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. The QEP’s “Destination Bound: Choose, Connect, Complete” program assists students through developments like structured scheduling, career onboarding, proactive advising and course pathways. One of QEP’s objectives is to streamline the college experience, as many students have compiled 90 or more credit hours – far above the 60 hours required for most associate degree programs – by the time they reach graduation.

Also for 2018, the college welcomed two new members to the WCJC Board of Trustees. Mary Ellen Meyer and J. Paul Pope, both of El Campo, were sworn in this past summer, replacing outgoing board members Merle Hudgins and Monty Merecka. Board chairman P.D. Danny Gertson of East Bernard also began another term. The board is comprised of nine elected officials who serve six-year terms.