The Wellington Center thrives as one of Lorain County Community College’s learning centers, offering residents of Southern Lorain County a chance to pursue higher education with the added convenience of being close to home. It’s the 10th year Wellington continues the LCCC tradition with a personal, smaller atmosphere that focuses on general education and business courses.
Sandy Gasper, staff associate, said she’s happy she has had the opportunity to get to know students one-on-one. Sometimes students have an easier time getting acclimated to college in the smaller setting, she added. Due to the intimate nature of the center, Sandy often sees students’ siblings come in a year or two after one other. The long-time LCCC employee enjoys acting as a resource for students by registering and enrolling them. She additionally helps them navigate the school’s online systems and shares jobs opportunities.
Wellington Center coordinator Amy Szmania says due to Wellington’s rural location, many high schoolers who may not have access to many college classes in their high schools enroll at LCCC to challenge themselves.
“It was important to bring LCCC to the southern part of the county,” Szmania said. “The learning center connects students to what’s available in the rest of the county.” For many students, starting college at Wellington is an easy transition. “Often, we’re the beginning of the pathway for students,” she said. Sometimes students come to Wellington from other counties that don’t have a community college.
Many students in the tight-knit campus have graduated from high school before graduating with an associate degree from LCCC through the College Credit Plus high school program that allows students to take LCCC courses in high school at no cost. Wellington High school graduate Riley Caldwell said her dream was to earn an associate degree before she graduated from high school, and she did just that. She plans to earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing through the LCCC University Partnership program.
She credits the staff members and professors who helped her achieve her goals and stay dedicated to coursework. “Eddie Henson, the academic advisor from the Wellington Center, has helped me tremendously in achieving my degree by providing a course completion plan and answering all the confusing questions that I have thrown his way,” Caldwell said.
Szmania sees Wellington as a “mini version” of the Elyria campus. Student Services offer help in admissions, placement assessments, academic advisement, course registration, tutoring and more. Books from the Elyria campus bookstore are delivered to Wellington as needed for students. Additionally, the Wellington Center’s 20-station computer lab and six computers in the lobby are free and open to the public.
Each semester the learning center offers around 50 courses. Numerous classes are also taught by instructors at other locations through distance learning in the six, interactive video distance-learning classrooms. Students are also able to participate in online courses through LCCC.
The 10,000 square-foot facility features study and conference rooms, as well as other resources for the community. Non-profit organizations can rent space at no charge. Groups include those such as Cub Scouts, a genealogy group, a diabetes prevention group and a support group for grandparents raising their grandchildren. Wellington Center is also home to continuing education courses such as those that focus on the history of the Bible, learning the iPad and more.
Aside from the main campus in Elyria, the other learning centers include the Community Learning Center at Lorain High School, Lorain Learning Center at City Center and University Partnership Ridge Campus in North Ridgeville.
The Wellington Center is located at 151 Commerce Drive, Wellington, Ohio. To learn more, visit www.lorainccc.edu/wellington, like “LCCC Wellington Center” on Facebook or stop by in person.