COLUMBIA — Moberly Area Community College is about to get a whole lot bigger.
The Columbia site of the community college is planning on leasing 37,000 square feet of the Parkade Center on Business Loop 70. This doubles the available space; currently, the site on Walnut has 16,000 square feet. It is leasing the north side of the complex, near Interstate 70.
The acquisition is in response to the 25 percent increase of enrollment at the community college. There are 1,700 students at the Columbia site this year.
Moberly spokeswoman Jaime Morgans said leasing the space at Parkade offers several advantages: Chief among them is parking.
“Parking is a premium where they are right now,” Morgans said, in reference to the Walnut site. The students have to park at Stephens Lake Park, and often there isn’t enough room for them. The Parkade Center has room for 1,400 cars in its parking lot, a draw for the commuter college. The Columbia Transit System also has a stop in front of the site.
Additionally, the site will be more accessible to wheelchairs.
“We’ll also have the opportunity to expand into additional space,” said Evelyn Jorgenson, the Moberly Area Community College president.
“We offer dozens of classes in Columbia, and I’m sure it will increase when we get to the center,” she said.
The site at Parkade is undergoing renovation and will be open for classes in the fall of 2010. Moberly is leasing three buildings at MU for 38 of its classes and leasing space at Stephens College to accommodate its lab science classes. Once the site at Parkade opens, the community college will move all its classes to the new space and give up the site at Walnut Street.
“We very much appreciate the willingness of the other colleges in allowing us to lease space from them,” Jorgenson said. “We have a very good relationship with all three colleges, … and we would like that to continue.”
Parkade declined to comment.