Trustees of Howard Community College voted 5-1 last week to begin a licensed practical nursing program that would be open to 25 to 30 students each year, starting in the fall of 1994.
Licensed practical nurses require a minimum of one year of training, and must pass a licensure exam to provide care for the sick.
Of the 25 to 30 students who could enroll in the new licensed practical nursing program, about 10 each year will be able to extend their studies for an additional year if they choose to become registered nurses.
"It's a really nice career track," said Carol C. Copenhaver, vice president and dean of instruction at the campus. Students "can come back and become an RN and then go on to the University of Maryland for a bachelor of science degree in nursing."
Currently, 185 students are in the school's two-year registered nursing program, with 200 to 300 more on the waiting list. Registered nurses require at least two years of training.
But Frederick A. Schoenbrodt, the only trustee to vote against the new program, said afterward that he would rather see the registered nursing program expanded.
To finance the $134,000 licensed practical nursing program, trustees are considering several options, including an unspecified higher tuition for students in that program. The trustees also are considering simply subsidizing the program.
Trustees are expected within the next several months to decide how to pay for the program.
During last week's meeting, trustees also approved a $7.9 million capital budget proposal for fiscal 1995, which goes to County Executive Charles I. Ecker tomorrow. Trustees decided that night to add $300,000 for two science labs to the proposal on the table.
Dr. Copenhaver said the school's handful of science labs are in constant use, leaving few opportunities for night students to practice biology, chemistry and other science experiments.
"The night science program can't grow at all until we get more science labs," Dr. Copenhaver said. She added that about 200 students are prevented each semester from taking required science courses because there aren't enough labs to accommodate them.
The new science labs would move into space currently occupied by office and technology labs, which would be moved elsewhere on campus.
Also in the capital budget are plans to improve the roads and cooling and heating system on the campus. To comply with the " 1990 federal Clean Air Act, which is designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer, campus officials would like to replace two industrial coolers that use chlorofluorocarbons with cheaper, energy-efficient devices. The $1.5 million project includes new lights for the campus and a computer-based energy management and automation system.
A $1.6-million road project calls for widening narrow campus entrances and exits on Little Patuxent Parkway and Hickory Ridge Road, eliminating sharp turns and building a bridge from the campus to the Hickory Ridge Building on Hickory Ridge Road. Construction would begin in 1996.
Other projects include new roofs for Smith Theatre, the Nursing Building and Administration Building and renovating the Physical Education Building and Smith Theatre.