New community college campus in Poconos will have space for 5,000 students

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A community college campus in the Poconos is about to get a lot bigger.

Northampton Community College, which is based in Bethlehem, has operated a satellite campus in Monroe County since 1988. Now about 2,500 students attend classes in a crowded former blouse factory in Tannersville. That's why Northampton just broke ground on a three-building campus nearby. It's expected to open in 2014, complete with a library, child care center, athletic fields and room for 5,000 students. Campus Dean Matt Connell expects the student population to double within five years. College administrators hope to be able to give Monroe County residents a discounted rate on tuition.

Right now the Tannersville campus' offerings include classes toward 13 associate's degrees and certificates in medical billing and licensed practical nursing. Students can also take courses that count for the first year toward other two-year degrees.

Those offerings will expand at the new campus, Connell says. A degree in biotechnology will prepare students to work for local companies like Sanofi Pasteur, a vaccine maker with U.S. headquarters in nearby Swiftwater. A new electronics technology program was designed to train workers for the Tobyhanna Army Depot, a Department of Defense electronics maintenance provider just up the road on Route 611. Connell says other programs will be designed in collaboration with local companies and economic development officials.

Source: Matt Connell, Northampton Community College
Writer: Rebecca VanderMeulen

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