For the first time in the history of Central Baptist College, enrollment has topped the 700 mark.
According to a report released by the office of the registrar Friday, overall fall enrollment officially closed at 725, up 100 students, a 16-percent increase over the fall 2009 enrollment of 625. Final enrollment figures include a 19-percent increase in traditional student enrollment with 467 students, a 28=percent increase in new and transfer students, and 258 students in Professional Adult College Education, with another registration in that program set for Sept. 10.
"This is our fifth consecutive year to post a record fall enrollment," CBC President Terry Kimbrow said. "Of course, this kind of growth brings numerous challenges—housing, parking, and financial resources to mention a few. But, I welcome these problems and, in fact, have anticipated them."
A new 10-year master plan, just completed last month by Rik Sowell Architects, Inc. of Conway, is guiding future growth at the institution. The plan is based on a future enrollment of 1,500.
Last year, CBC opened a new science center to support three new bachelor’s degrees: biology, biotechnology and health sciences. The center includes two biology labs, two chemistry labs, a research lab, faculty offices, chemical storage and a large state-of-the-art classroom. The institution is also in its second year of pursuit of accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Two new intercollegiate sports were added this fall, men’s wrestling and women’s golf, bringing the total athletic offerings to 12, all competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
"There is no doubt these things had an impact on our growth," Kimbrow said. "Aggressive recruiting played a large part also. We have also continued to build our reputation as a viable four-year institution in the state. We have extremely qualified and committed faculty and staff. I just think our time has come."