In developing the goals of this proposal, there were a number of
drivers. There were the current needs assessed by previous studies and
Parkland’s administration, faculty and staff and the assessment of
projected growth. The primary drivers of continued development will be
enrollment growth and the quality of the educational experience
expected by potential students.
Additionally, other forces will also drive the college toward campus completion:
• Growth in enrollment of traditional students. Compared to earlier
generations of students, the traditional student of today thinks less
in terms of 2-year versus 4-year institution and more in terms of
facilities, programs, and campus life, irrespective of institutional
• Long-term enrollment potential.
• Increasing tuition and admission requirements at universities, implying even greater enrollment at community colleges.
• Public support for Parkland College and community colleges in
general. Parkland is well-regarded locally, and community colleges have
established their place in America with approximately 50 percent of all
enrollments occurring at community colleges. Said differently, the
world increasingly understands that 2 (as in two-year) is fewer, not
less, than 4 (as in four-year).
• Evolving expectations of community colleges. Over their relatively
brief history community colleges, perhaps more that any other
institution, have been asked to take on additional roles within higher
Key Planning Questions
To further examine campus planning, a few key questions should be considered.
1. Is Parkland College crowded at current enrollment? That is, at current enrollment is more space needed?
2. How much is enrollment likely to grow?
3. How large are the campuses of colleges comparable to the likely future enrollment of Parkland College?
Is Parkland College crowded at current enrollment?
Parkland College has about 47 square feet per student when comparing
head count to gross square footage. This is a low statistic and is
below the state average for “roominess”. Some averages for urban
schools are 73 square feet per student. The average for regional
community schools of Parkland’s size is 57 square feet per student.
In addition, the continuing education enrollment of Parkland is robust
and growing. This continuing education, or non-credit, enrollment
actually exceeds current credit enrollment.
How much is enrollment likely to grow?
If historical patterns of enrollment for other Illinois community
colleges hold for Parkland College, credit enrollment is likely to grow
at least 5 percent in the next 10 years. This would be an increase of
nearly 855 students over the current 16,745.
How large are the campuses of community colleges comparable to the likely future enrollment of Parkland College?
Ten community colleges with fall 2005 credit enrollment between 11,000
and 16,000 have an average gross square feet of 869,000.3 The state
average campus size is 610,000 gross square feet. Parkland College has
approximately 800,000 gross square feet.
Enrollment and Facility Considerations for Parkland’s Next Decade
It is relevant and important to consider the demands future changes in
enrollment and student characteristics will place on the college and
its facilities. Anticipating change, evaluating the impact of changing
conditions, and preparing effectively to manage change are hallmarks of
successful organizations. The composition of the Parkland College
student body has been changing since inception of the college. Simply
consider the profile of Parkland students in 2008 compared to the
profile when the college began operation in 1967.
Traditional-age college students today account for a much larger
proportion of the full-time student population than was the case 15
years ago. In 1992, the traditional age enrollment was 27.7%.
Currently, it is 33.6%. This changing enrollment profile represents a
significant consideration in the future development of Parkland College
only will this changing enrollment profile propel development of the
college, but also major enrollment growth. Significant enrollment
growth is predicted for the college over the next ten years. Several
factors are expected to contribute to future growth including:
• additional academic programs are continually being developed and implemented;
• the communities served by the college are becoming increasingly aware of the programs and services offered;
• a more aggressive recruiting program has been established;
• growth in district population will provide a larger base from which to draw;
• continued escalation of university costs will make community colleges ever more attractive.
Looking at enrollment in the past 10 years (FY 1998 to 2008), Parkland
increased from 13,713 to 16,745– a 22% increase. We cannot expect that
this will always be the case. Rates of growth are not always
consistent. An anticipated increase of 5% is a reasonable expectation.
This would yield a credit enrollment of at least 17,600. This is an
increase of nearly 855 students over the current 16,745. Continuing
education enrollment is more difficult to project, but Parkland College
has grown significantly in this area.