June 7, 2017 – Beginning in Fall 2017, Santa Fe College will offer Saturday courses at the Blount Center in downtown Gainesville in addition to the center’s regular Monday-Friday classes. “We are starting the Saturday program with a first-year schedule,” said SF Dean of Educational Centers Cheryl Calhoun. “As classes fill and demand grows, we will add more course offerings on Saturdays. Our goal is to have students who live in East Gainesville and downtown be able to complete their degrees at this location by taking a combination of weekend and online classes.”
In addition to the Northwest Campus near I-75 and NW 39th Avenue in Gainesville, the Blount Center is one of six other Santa Fe College locations throughout Alachua and Bradford counties. These centers are designed to enable people to take classes and earn college degrees closer to their homes and workplaces.
The other centers are the Andrews Center in Starke, the Davis Center in Archer, the Kirkpatrick Center in Northeast Gainesville, the Perry Center for Emerging Technologies in Alachua, and the Watson Center in Keystone Heights.
“The intent of these centers is to provide students with access to education and one-stop services close to home,” Calhoun explained. “The centers are especially appealing to nontraditional students who may have full-time jobs or families and will appreciate a location that’s easy for them to attend at night or on the weekend.”
Plans call for the new Saturday classes at the Blount Center to be taught in block schedules so students may take one class in the morning and another in the afternoon. Fall term course offerings include: statistics; public speaking; college composition; art fundamentals; college success; algebra; humanities; and psychology.
In addition to the Saturday classes, the Blount Center offers a range of programs under one umbrella, including:
- an Adult Education Program;
- classes in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL);
- GED preparation and testing;
- college credit programs including general education, business, technology, and health science classes;
- a full range of student services such as:
- academic advising
- student records retrieval
- financial aid assistance
- testing facilities and proctoring
- Disabilities Resource support
- Learning Center tutoring
- open computer lab
- Math Studio
- library resources
- Student Activities
- Downtown Scholar Association
Also located at the Blount Center are a food pantry, the East Gainesville Instruction (EGI) program with outreach activities designed to help students from diverse populations succeed, and the Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED) with its entrepreneur incubator, meeting spaces, corporate training programs, and programs in continuing and community education.
“In addition to the Blount Center, the other centers have their own personalities and course offerings that reflect the unique strengths of their locations and communities,” Calhoun described. “In Keystone Heights, Archer, and Starke, students can take general education classes, earn their Associate of Arts degrees, and take prerequisite courses for health sciences.” Calhoun listed specific assets that make each of the centers unique:
- The Perry Center in Alachua is focused on biotechnology and is located near some of Alachua County’s groundbreaking biotech companies.
- The Andrews Center in Starke (Bradford County) is housed in three buildings—the historic Bradford County Courthouse, the cultural building with its Bradford County Historical Museum, and the Lillian Stump building. Summer classes for children include College for Kids, Exploring Science Camps and Lego Robotics.
- The Davis Center in Archer offers an open area with dark skies, so an astronomy course is offered there complete with an astronomy lab and telescopes.
- The Watson Center in Keystone Heights backs up to Watson Woods, 40 acres of undisturbed upland sandhill habitat that is used as an outdoor classroom for a full suite of science courses.
- The Kirkpatrick Center houses the Institute of Public Safety that includes the Police Academy, emergency medical technician and paramedic programs and training for correctional officers.
- The Northwest Campus offers the full college experience including associate and bachelors’ degrees, career and technical education programs.
“Students are usually surprised by the range of services offered at our different centers,” Calhoun concluded. “We want everyone in Alachua and Bradford counties to know that there are alternatives to our Northwest Campus. There is probably a Santa Fe College center near you that offers classes and services to help you advance in your education or your career.”
For more information about the Blount Center’s new Saturday classes or programs at any of the college’s outlying centers, call Calhoun at 352-395-5719.