Changes underway as Bevill State starts new year

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 8/9/17

Bevill State Community College students are gearing up to come back to class next week as many changes are underway, ranging from the return of athletics to a rate increase.

A new 1.4 percent tuition hike for the 25 two-year schools in the …

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Changes underway as Bevill State starts new year


Bevill State Community College students are gearing up to come back to class next week as many changes are underway, ranging from the return of athletics to a rate increase.

A new 1.4 percent tuition hike for the 25 two-year schools in the Alabama Community College System will be in effect this fall, according to the Associated Press. Alabama residents will see a $2 increase to $119 for the price of a credit hour. Nonresidents will see the cost rise to $234.

“That happened across the board for all community colleges in Alabama. That wasn’t just us,” said Tana Collins, a spokesman for the college.

Collins said registration is set for Monday, with classes beginning two days later on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Although enrollment is still ongoing, she said that the college has had great response to early enrollment.

Registration will take place at the normal student service locations at both the Sumiton and Jasper campuses, she said. Fees will be paid in the business offices.

Some new offerings will be available, she said, including a 15-week dental assistance program on the Jasper Campus. “It doesn’t start until Aug. 22,” Collins said. The $1,400 fee, which does not include books, can use financial aid.

The college’s new HVAC program that is transferring from Clanton is not expected to begin until the start of calendar year 2018, she said.

“We recently started a part-time evening nursing program,” Collins said, saying it is based in Jasper. “In Sumiton, we now have an evening truck driving program. We’re trying to make it more convenient for people wanting to change careers or who have to work full-time and who cannot do it during traditional schools hours.”

Collins noted the excitement over sports coming back to Bevill State. The college announced in May that athletics, including men’s basketball on the Jasper Campus, would be returning after a five-year absence.

Bevill State Community College named Thomas “Tommy” Suitts of Dora as the new head basketball coach for the College’s newly reinstated men’s basketball program.

In addition to men’s basketball, Bevill State plans this school year to return men’s baseball to the Fayette Campus, women’s volleyball to the Fayette Campus, and women’s softball to the Sumiton Campus.

“That’s going to be a big deal,” Collins said. “We hope to see a lot of community involvement in that. In the past, when basketball was here at Bevill at Walker College, that was a huge community event. Everyone from all of Walker County came to those basketball games. We’re really excited about seeing the community as a whole come together on the college campus again.”

The college has gone as far as to obtain a new bear mascot, called Grizz Lee Bear after a contest was held to name him.

Basketball is scheduled to start in early November, she said, noting the campus gym is being prepared currently.

One-stop shop centers to put students services more in one convenient place are being put in place on all campuses at a cost of $4.6 million, she said.

As part of the project’s first phase, Davis Hall, the first building constructed on the Jasper Campus in 1938 when it was Walker College, will be torn down and rebuilt as a new Davis Hall to house the one-stop center for Jasper campus students.

The current building named for George H. Davis, which has structural issues and safety concerns, will be rebuilt so that the exterior will look much like the current Davis Hall, she said. It will end up as a two-floor, 7,700 square foot structure, allowing the inside will be designed for serving all the one-stop student service needs.

“That’s an ongoing project,” Collins said. “That will continue to happen in the fall. I don’t know if the demolition will happen in the fall,” although she said it likely will. “We’re still on track for that project.”

On the Sumiton campus, Building 1200 will be renovated to house the one-stop center for that campus. The next phase will be on the campuses for the Hamilton and Fayette, with all the work set to be completed next year.

Collins emphasized the project is not having any impact on student fees.

Bevill State was recently ranked No. 4 in Alabama in community colleges. The ranking came from Niche, a website that combines rigorous analysis with authentic reviews to highlight the best places to live and go to school.