Looking Back: Jan. 6, 1971

Published 4:27 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2021

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By Clyde Parker

P.D. Camp Community College starts enrollments

The new Paul D. Camp Community College, to be located in Franklin, is scheduled to open on Sept. 9. Dr. Perry Adams, newly appointed college president, said enrollment applications, when requested, are now being sent out for the fall 1971 term. The 60,000 square foot building, costing close to $2 million, is designed to accommodate 1,000 students, although approximately 800 are expected to enroll the first year.

The college, which will serve Region 21 of the Virginia Community College System, is enrolling students residing in the cities of Suffolk and Franklin, and the counties of Nansemond, Isle of Wight, and Southampton.

Tuition for a full-time student will be $60.00 a quarter and $5.00 a credit hour for part-time students.

Dr. Adams expects approval of 12 degree programs for the college, five college transfers and seven technical programs. Both daytime and evening courses will be offered.

Virginia’s 16 community colleges enrolled more in-state first-time freshman students than the combined total for all other state-supported institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to a report by the Council of Higher Education in Virginia. Just released, the Council reported on 1970 fall enrollments and showed that Northern Virginia Community College enrolled nearly 6,000 new freshmen at its Annandale and Bailey’s Crossroads campuses — the highest number for any higher education institution in the state. In total, Virginia community colleges enrolled more than 14,000 new freshmen students, 97 percent of whom were Virginia residents.

The State Council report also showed that community college transfer applicants for admission to the junior class at four-year state colleges and universities increased 357 percent over total applicants in 1968.

Of those community college graduates with Associate in Arts and Science degrees, who applied, more than 93 percent were accepted by the four-year state institutions.

Total student enrollment for the fall 1970 quarter was 27,938, a 26 percent jump over the previous year. Virginia led the country in percentage increase in fall enrollment, according to American Association of Junior colleges.

According to the council report, new freshmen 1970 fall quarter enrollments in the Virginia community colleges, from highest down, are: Northern Virginia, 6,000; Virginia Western, 994; Thomas Nelson, 878; Tidewater, 860; Danville, 831; Central Virginia, 644; Blue Ridge, 614; Southwest Virginia, 595; Lord Fairfax, 566; John Tyler, 459; Virginia Highlands, 399; New River, 332; Germanna, 248; Wytheville, 247; Dabney S. Lancaster, 239; and Southside Virginia, 181.


Franklin Shopping Center to open 1972

Construction of the $1.5 million first phase of the new West Franklin shopping center has been rescheduled and will begin in September of 1971. Owners say they expect the center to open for business in January of 1972. It was originally announced that construction would begin in January of 1971 with completion of the first phase to coincide with the opening, in September of 1971, of the new Paul D. Camp Community College.

Dr. Ernest B. Gatten Jr., a partner in the group that owns the property and is developing the shopping center, said construction plans have been delayed allowing for the construction and completion of College Drive, which will be a new street running parallel to both the new shopping center and the Paul D. Camp Community College properties. When finished, probably in September, College Drive will connect West Clay Street with South Street. Andrews Street, which extends from South Street to St. Regis Paper Company, will be renamed “South College Drive” and a portion of Gardner Street will be eliminated.

“As soon as the road is finished, we will begin construction,” Gatten said. “There were other slowdowns too — it just takes time to work these things out.”

The shopping center will be built at the southwestern corner of the intersection formed by the new College Drive and the Franklin-Boykins Highway (Route 671) — created in the early 1960s. Many people envision this thoroughfare as being the focus of Franklin’s future primary retail and commercial business district.

The developers’ June 1969 announcement outlined plans for a shopping center that will ultimately provide for 536,500 square feet of space for 20 stores and represent an outlay of $5 million.

“This is still our plan,” Gatten assured. “I would say we are progressing satisfactorily.”

According to Gatten, the first phase will contain 125,000 square feet of space for approximately eight large stores (10,000 to 40,000 square feet) and from seven to 10 locally owned businesses (generally under 5,000 square feet in size).

“We already have space commitments from several of the large chains and letters of intent from a number of local businessmen,” Gatten said. “The first phase will include a national chain food store (A&P store), a service station, a drug store, a junior department store, and a variety store. We’ll have an asphalt parking lot with a capacity of at least 1,000 cars.”

Gatten and the associated group, which includes Richmond contractor Robert M. Dunville and Newport News real estate developer Joe E. Carpenter, purchased 48 acres adjacent to the community college site and 16 acres bordered by Gardner and Andrews Streets for a reported $200,000 in June of 1969.

Developers announced they would stress quality in construction design and materials. The center is to be of brick and masonry and in keeping architecturally with the new college. The buildings will be single story. Eventually, there will be a covered, air-conditioned mall.