LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The State College of Florida's Lakewood Ranch campus is recognizing its 10th anniversary Tuesday.
The college will host an open house for prospective students from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in honor of the milestone. Attendees will learn about admissions and programs, and then tour the campus.
Over the past decade, SCF Lakewood Ranch has seen tremendous growth. Enrollment has risen to 1,500 students this semester. In 2003, the campus had only 553 students, noted Jessica Klipa, spokeswoman for SCF.
That year, the Lakewood Ranch campus celebrated the opening of the Center for Innovation and Technology, a 30,000-square-foot building which houses classrooms and an auditorium.
In 2010, SFC opened the Medical Technology and Stimulation Center, a two-story, 42,000-square-foot facility that contains the nursing and health programs complete with state-of-the-
art laboratories and other technology.
The campus rolled out Saturday College at the beginning of this school year. The program allows students to earn an associate's degree by attending classes only on Saturdays.
Geared toward students whose weekdays are filled, Saturday school promises a planned pathway to a degree.
Students need not be concerned classes they need aren't available or that they're picking the wrong classes. Each student is given a plan.
"All we're doing is taking choice out of the formula and providing a structured pathway," said Donald Bowman, SCF vice president of student affairs. "We're hand-holding in some respects, but those... students say 'We need the AA' and we say 'Here it is.'"
Students typically take two classes each Saturday, each one lasting eight weeks.
The Lakewood Ranch campus was the first to get the program because it's already open Saturdays and it's the most centrally located SCF campus in Sarasota and Manatee, Bowman said.
The campus also expanded student services with ramped-up admissions and advising staff, a cafe and learning commons with computers, copiers, study spaces and a library.
"If you're going to become a destination, you have to make sure you have the support services," Bowman said. "We continue to expand each term."
Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.