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Some students like Shepherd just the way it is

November 25, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Although they are starting to get concerned about a lack of parking in the Shepherdstown area and some classes getting too big, Shepherd College students seem to have little concern about the school reaching its highest enrollment this year.

Shepherd College still has a small college atmosphere, which is conducive to learning, unlike some big universities in the region, students said.

"I've learned more here than any of those places. I think the quality of education here is good, especially for the money," said Edward Carr, a Hagerstown native who commutes to Shepherd College from Hedgesville, W.Va.

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"I think the school does well for what it has," student Rob Edmonds said as he studied in the cafeteria in the student center last week.

"I think it's good for Shepherd to grow," said Edmonds. Even if Shepherd reached 7,000 students, that does not necessarily mean it would "turn it into a WVU," Edmonds said.

Shepherd College officials say that the school's full-time enrollment reached its highest level in the history of the school this fall.

Shepherd's full-time equivalent enrollment for the fall semester is 3,586, an increase of 169 students over last fall's enrollment, college officials said.

Carla Chambers said she used to attend West Virginia University but did not like the big classes.

Although the second-year student, who's majoring in psychology and Spanish, is a little concerned about the size of her English and history classes at Shepherd, the local school better fits her style.

"You learn better in this environment," Chambers said.

"If they want to expand a little, I think that's OK. I wouldn't want to suggest that they make it into a big university," Chambers added.

Student Megan Mullenax said parking availability at Shepherd is "really bad" and she is frustrated over the fact that she put down a deposit for her own dorm room this year but didn't get one.

Instead, she was placed in a room with two other girls.

Other than those problems, Mullenax said she likes Shepherd. A second-year art student from Ravenswood, W.Va., she said she does not want to see Shepherd get any bigger.

"I picked it because it was small. I think if we would get more people, it would really lose that small-town atmosphere," Mullenax said.

In the downtown shopping area, feelings are mixed about Shepherd College growing.

Some businesses clearly thrive off the college crowd, like Lost Dog Cafe at 134 E. German St.

As far as Lost Dog Cafe worker Dion Hellyer is concerned, bigger is better.

"It would be more stressful, but in the long run it would be much better," Hellyer said.

Across the street, Debbie Dickinson and Meredith Wait have concerns about the college growing.

Dickinson, who operates Dickinson and Wait Craft Gallery with Wait, said there are people who used to shop downtown but no longer go there because there is a perception that there is little available parking as growing numbers of students and visitors compete for downtown spots.

Wait said college officials should open a dialogue with downtown merchants about the future of the college.

"They're talking about it to the campus. I'd like to see them talking about it to the town," said Wait, referring to a series of open meetings college officials have had with students and faculty about the future of the school.

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