Dr. John Schwenn: We’re Coming Back

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - by Dr. John Schwenn
Dr. John Schwenn
Dr. John Schwenn

There is a buzz in the air. It seems everywhere I go people are saying, “We’re coming back!”

In some cases they’re referring to Roadrunner basketball. With our first home game in 35 years scheduled Thursday, November 7, the Roadrunners are indeed coming back. If season ticket sales are any indication, then I think it is fair to say that this community is eager for the return of intercollegiate athletics at Dalton State.

I joined hundreds of other Roadrunner fans who gathered for the Blue and Silver scrimmage last weekend at Dalton High. We have some mighty fine players, and I think our Roadrunners will give us much to cheer for and cheer about when the season starts. The response to our basketball Roadrunners–and also to our volleyball, cross country, golf, tennis, and cheer Roadrunners—has been warm and wonderful.

When I hear “We’re coming back” on campus, it is usually in response to improving conditions at Dalton State. After a couple of rocky years of enrollment declines, budget cuts, and changing admission standards, things have finally stabilized. Enrollment has levelled off, and we have a strong student population. Our student housing is full, and we have a waiting list. We have added new academic programs, bringing the number of degree offerings to 17 bachelor’s degrees and 21 associate degrees.

Construction crews are on campus, building our new science building and renovating Bandy Gym. Soon, work will begin to convert our old technical education building into a new home for our School of Health Professions.

Intercollegiate athletics has added a new level of excitement and enthusiasm around campus. Roadrunner logos are visible at nearly every turn. For the first time in years, we have billboards and newspaper ads in the Northwest Georgia region encouraging prospective students to “experience transformation” at Dalton State.

Even more encouraging is when I hear people saying “We’re coming back” in regards to the local economy. The Great Recession took a toll on our region which suffered the highest unemployment in the state. When the housing industry took a dive, the floorcovering industry did as well. Our community suffered; the College suffered. It’s been a long five years. The lowpoint may have come last year when The Wall Street Journal painted a picture of Dalton that more closely resembled a ghost town than a thriving center for manufacturing and entrepreneurship that was retooling to meet new challenges.

But now jobs are coming back to Dalton. New plants are being constructed. There is more demand for flooring as housing starts pick up. Interior designers, cabinet makers, and other craftspeople report they’re busier than they’ve been in years. These are all positive signs.

The signs are all around us: on our basketball court, on our campus, throughout our community. We’re coming back.

---

Dr. John O. Schwenn is the president of Dalton State College.


Walk At School Event At Red Bank Elementary Friday

Red Bank Elementary students have been participating in walk to school day events.   On Friday, the 5th graders are doing a surprise "flash mob" dance on the last song at 2 p.m.  (click for more)

Local Student Enrolls At Earlham College

Alexander Owen, an Earlham College first-year and son of Sterling Owen of Germantown, Tn, and Karen Nance of Chattanooga, has enrolled at Earlham College. " Earlham is dedicated to the development of effective ways to integrate international perspectives in education," officials said.  " Earlham graduates are well prepared for further study; n early half of Earlham alumni ... (click for more)

Two North Shore Sold To Pennsylvania Real Estate Firm For Almost $24 Million

The Two North Shore commercial development on Manufacturers Road in North Chattanooga has been sold to a Pennsylvania real estate firm for  $23,983,363. Steve Arnsdorff, who developed the successful center from the ground up and has continued to manage it, said the deal closed last week. He said the sale for the property at 319 Manufacturers Road is to Stoltz Real Estate ... (click for more)

Mother Gets 20 Years In Death Of 4-Year-Old Son, Severe Injury To 3-Year-Old

Patricia Brewer was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for the abuse death of her four-year-old son and severe injury of her three-year-old son. She appeared before Judge Rebecca Stern and entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Police said the injuries came after the mother left them alone in the care of her boyfriend, who has a history ... (click for more)

Congratulations To Ron Hughes

Hearty congratulations to Ron Hughes for being selected as Tennessee State Elementary Principal of the Year for 2014. Wherever Ron has been assigned as principal, he has exhibited strong leadership both academically and morally. His faith in God and his love for the students of Hamilton County have guided his actions and everyone that has benefited from the excellent education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Brittany’s Days Dwindle

So here we are, facing what is known as “Devil’s Night” before Halloween comes, and the almost macabre news now comes that Brittany Maynard, the beautiful girl who has chosen to end her life as soon as Saturday, is struggling to meet her own deadline. She has inoperable brain cancer and, at best, only months to live. The 29-year-old, who was married shortly before her devastating ... (click for more)