Wor-Wic Workforce Development Center has a new name

WorWic Building 1

A Wor-Wic Community College building has a new name, in honor of prominent families that donated $1.5 million to a recent fund-raising campaign.

The Workforce Development Center was christened Fulton-Owen Hall, as the college celebrated raising $6.5 million, plus the $1.5 million philanthropic gift, for a total of $8 million.

“We’re very excited,” Dr. Ray Hoy said, adding the initial goal of $5 million was far exceeded for the Providing for Today While Ensuring Tomorrow campaign.

About 150 people gathered on April 25 for a dessert reception after portraits of the philanthropists were unveiled. One portrait was of Charles and Martha Fulton and the other of Owen family members A.W. and Jennie Owen and their children, Michael and Lindsey.

Hoy said Charles Fulton was on the original steering committee that studied the need for a community college.

“The committee started meeting around 1974,” he said.

Until the Wor-Wic campus was established in 1994, classes were taught in churches and rental facilities around Salisbury.

Now, about 11,000 students are enrolled at the neatly kept campus off Route 50 at Walston Switch Road and the college continues to grow.

Hoy said Wor-Wic qualifies, at the state level, for three additional buildings.

Requirements to qualify include current enrollment, plus projected enrollment in 10 years.

Wor-Wic must identify “what we would do in those spaces, and get local financing from Worcester and Wicomico counties. It goes through a process,” the president said.

With 220 acres, the college has plenty of room to expand. There are two new building sites, one next to Fulton-Owen and the other beside the Allied Health building where, interestingly, lifelike mannequins are used to train nursing students. Each one costs as much as $75,000.  One is capable of simulating the birthing process every 15 minutes.

“It’s great for our students. When a nursing student is going through his or her neonatal care and birthing at the hospital, there are no guarantees they will see a baby born during that time, so the mannequin gives them that experience,” he said.

New buildings will contain classrooms and office space because, Hoy said, “We still have a number of faculty members in shared offices.”

“We have the least square footage of building space per student of any community college in the state,” he said.

“The Fulton family has a history of philanthropy. They have a child development center in Snow Hill and a building at Salisbury University. Their focus has been on education, so contributing to our campaign seemed like a logical choice,” Hoy said.

During the reception, Andy Booth of the board of trustees said Wor-Wic is “very appreciative of everyone who supported the campaign and helped raise new funds as part of providing for today to establish the occupational therapy assistant and physical therapist assistant programs, which we are currently creating, in addition to ‘ensuring tomorrow’ by creating endowments for the future.”

Booth was chairman of the steering committee for the fund-raising campaign.

Funds will be used, in part, to offer two new majors, physical therapy assistant and occupational therapy assistant, with the latter starting in the fall.

Physical therapy will start in the fall of 2015.

Reach Susan Canfora at SCanfora@newszap.com.

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