Wor-Wic Turns 30 and Continues to Grow
March 02, 2005

It’s no coincidence that the word, “change,” is a key part of the 30th anniversary slogan, “Changing Lives Since 1975,” adopted by Wor-Wic Community College for the year.

“Changing lives” is a testament to the thousands who have passed through Wor-Wic’s doors to take a course or two, graduate with a degree in a career field like nursing or criminal justice, or transfer to a four-year college or university to continue their education before entering the work force.

The biggest change in the college’s 30-year history was Wor-Wic’s move to a traditional campus in 1994, after almost 20 years of operation as a “college without walls.” Initially, the college rented office and classroom space at various locations in Wicomico and Worcester counties. It was the only postsecondary school in the state designated to operate as a “college without walls” and one of only a few in the U.S.

In the mid 1990s, the college moved into 90,000 square feet of building space on almost 200 acres of land on the corner of Route 50 and Walston Switch Road east of Salisbury. Five years later, Henson Hall, which is home to the nursing, X-ray technology, mathematics and science departments, was added. Soon after that, Guerrieri Hall appeared. A mirror image of Henson Hall, this building houses the criminal justice department, the Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy and a 200-seat assembly hall that is often used for small theater group performances.

Anyone who hasn’t seen Guerrieri Hall or the college campus and those interested in learning more about the history of the college are invited to attend a Founder’s Day program scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, at 2 p.m. Another opportunity for the public to visit Guerrieri Hall is the college’s annual Dessert Theater, which features student Arts Club performers and desserts prepared by hotel-motel-restaurant management students at the college. Tickets for performances on Saturday, March 19, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 20, at 2 p.m., will go on sale soon.

Change at Wor-Wic continues today, in response to the phenomenal growth in programs and students in recent years. Five construction projects are in various stages of completion at the present time.

A 25,000 square foot addition to the existing Student Center is expected to be completed this summer, providing a kitchen, more dining space, study and lounge areas, meeting rooms, offices and an expanded bookstore. A new entry-road was completed as part of this project in the fall, to alleviate traffic congestion on campus.

The new Student Center will be showcased during another anniversary event, an Anniversary Gala, which will also be open to the public. The black-tie fund raiser on Saturday, Oct. 15, will feature dinner and entertainment, as well as silent and live auctions.

Another project nearing completion is the new Maintenance Building, which will provide much-needed office and storage space. Once this building is completed, the existing Maintenance Building will be renovated and added on to in order to create a Child Development Center for the children of students and employees. The center, which is expected to open in the fall of 2006, will enable more area residents with children to attend classes at the college, offer a quality education to the children enrolled in the program and provide a learning laboratory for students majoring in early childhood education.

Another project nearing completion is the extension of municipal water and sewer services on campus. The on-site portion of this project has been completed, and the water tank, pumping station and the actual connection to city services is expected to be completed soon.

College officials and architects are also currently designing a new Workforce Development Building. Plans are being made to add a commercial kitchen and dining area and implement a culinary arts program as part of the existing hotel-motel-restaurant management program, which is currently located at Wor-Wic’s Berlin-Ocean City Instructional Center in Berlin. This new building will also house the continuing education division of the college and business programs such as accounting and office technology.

“It’s hard to believe that there was a time when the Lower Eastern Shore was the only part of Maryland that did not have a community college,” said Dr. Ray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic. “We’ve grown tremendously just in the past five years, and we’re continuing to grow to meet community needs.”

ONE OF FIVE. A 25,000 square foot addition to the Student Center at Wor-Wic Community College is one of five construction projects in various stages of development at the present time. The new addition is flanked on the right by the Academic and Administrative Building, one of the original structures on the campus that was built in 1994, and on the left by Guerrieri Hall, which was added in 2001.