KCC student count climbs

PUHI — Kauai Community College culinary arts students soaked up as much of the sun and morning air as they could before rushing off to class Monday.

“We’re finishing break,” said Noah Funaki. “Class is going to start and we gotta go. Yes, I’m excited about coming back to school. We’re going to do short order breakfast this semester. I’ve never done that before so it’s going to be nice.”

The culinary arts students were among 1,113 students on the first day census at Kauai Community College provided by the University of Hawaii Institutional Research.

This represents a 2.6 percent gain over the spring 2016 semester of 1,085 students.

“This is not the final for the semester because late registration, Early College for the high schools haven’t been recorded, and students having the ability to add or drop classes continue from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. up until Friday at the One Stop Center,” said Isaiah Ka‘auwai, interim vice chancellor of student affairs.

Ka‘auwai said Early College classes are available at three of the Kauai public high schools.

KCC’s opening day enrollment is only one of two campuses in the University of Hawaii system to show an improvement. The other was the West Oahu campus, which opened with 2,600 students, or a 6 percent increase.

The KCC student increase is a turnaround from the 8.2 percent decline from spring 2015 to 2016.

“We’re excited about the numbers being up,” said Kauai Community College Chancellor Helen Cox. “First days are always exciting.”

The Samuel Wilcox Learning Resource Center re-opened after being closed for 18 months for renovation work.

“It’s so nice to have the students get back their new library, which has been repainted, new windows installed in the classrooms, and an air conditioning system,” Cox said.

Work also continues on a new lanai for the Hawaiian Studies building and the 125-seat multi-purpose room, Cox said.

“It is so much better to have the library open,” said Michael Gmelin, a reference and instructional librarian at the LRC. “There are students who have been here a year and have not had an opportunity to utilize the full library resources.”

Kelli Garcia, focusing on an education major, echoed another student’s thoughts on the re-opening of the LRC. “This is such a big deal,” she said.

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