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Gwinnett Tech classes start Wednesday

LAWRENCEVILLE -- School starts Wednesday for more than 7,166 students at Gwinnett Technical College.

It's a small increase from last year's numbers according to David McCulloch, vice president of economic development at the college.

He said all students will be working toward getting used to the college's new semester system.

Preparing the student population to shift from the quarterly college system meant early advisement, McCulloch said.

He said the change meant an increase in the number of classes students were required to take in order to be classified as full time.

"We initiated a campaign that encouraged students to take five classes," he said. "We started advising as early as last winter."

McCulloch said the benefits of the switch to the semester system were that it "better aligned students, particularly transfer students, so that they could come in and keep step as opposed to the quarter system."

In addition, high school students "looking to take college-level courses (through dual enrollment) can participate, and it aligns well with the high school's academic year."

Other updates to the college include a Life Sciences Center: a three-story classroom and laboratory learning facility for future healthcare providers and professionals to train.

The space allowed the college to expand its nine existing science and allied health programs as well as introduce some new ones such as cardiovascular technology and diagnostic sonography.

The 78,000 square-foot learning space will serve more than 3,000 students annually and opens today to students for the first time.