The Frank & Maureen Wilkens Science and Engineering Center, currently under construction at Cape Cod Community College’s West Barnstable campus, will serve all of Cape Cod—its economy, its local businesses, and the people who live here. Whether you are a full-time or part-time resident, business owner, or just visiting, the new Science and Engineering Center will have a positive impact on our quality of life on Cape Cod.
The new Center has been carefully designed to meet the needs of Cape Cod because it responds to existing, Cape-specific challenges that are vital to its future. For example, the new Center will elevate all health sciences classes and certifications to meet the enormous local demand in this field; it will expand and elevate environmental classes and certifications, creating a stronger workforce to tackle our pressing environmental concerns; and it will support the development of a degree program specific to our Blue Economy, which impacts all of us.
According to the World Bank, the Blue Economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of [our] ocean ecosystem.”
As a coastal community, with a tourism-based economy, all of Cape Cod, and every business within it, is part of our Blue Economy. Running a business, living, and working on Cape Cod requires us to operate specific to living in an ocean environment.
In alignment with, and in response to, the Cape Cod Commission’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy report, the new Center will launch an exciting new degree program. The Applied Economics of Coastal and Ocean Environments Degree Program, which we have dubbed the “Blue Economy Degree,” will qualify students for mid-level careers and positions that prepare them to perform their jobs within the context of a coastal community.
Students will be educated on environmental issues including biodiversity, pollution, erosion, and rising sea levels as well as the economic impacts and implications for businesses. This new degree, supported by the new Center, will apply to jobs from hospitality to oyster farming to healthcare. The Blue Economy Degree, along with Environmental Technology, Engineering Technology & Advanced Manufacturing, Health Sciences, and a new Biotechnology Technician certificate program, will leverage the new Center to increase the STEM opportunities for students and to better support local industries.
As Corey Calla, CEO & President of SencorpWhite, has stated, “We need more talent here in the Cape Cod community. When we hire, we typically don’t find resources here locally. We have to go off-Cape. We would really like to find people here on the Cape who want to stay at home and work at home and help us grow the community that they’re part of.”
Established in 1961, Cape Cod Community College serves 6,000 students a year and is the only resource for higher education in the region. More than 80% of our graduates remain on the Cape, making up the backbone of our local workforce. Our graduates go on to become the people who own our small businesses and provide us with the essential services we all depend on—every day.
As a community college, 4Cs is nimble—able to quickly respond to the needs of the community. The College has a long history of responding to local workforce needs, like doubling the size of our nursing program in response to healthcare demands and working with Cape Air to address the worldwide shortage of qualified airplane mechanics—establishing a new program to a national standard.
“Our purpose is to respond to the economic and business needs of the Cape and the people who live here,“ said John Cox, President of Cape Cod Community College. He explained, “This building is essential to the future of Cape Cod Community College and to the Cape. Not only is it going to benefit our faculty and students but it’s going to benefit our economy—where our graduates really are the driving force.”
The new Center will feature the most modern equipment and labs available. Classrooms and laboratories will include state-of-the art technology to support today’s needs and will be adaptable to emerging technologies. Flexible spaces will allow for a variety of configurations and dynamic classroom settings. Learning will be enhanced by lighting, storage, laboratory setups, creative spaces, and a Maker Space.
Every degree-seeking student is required to take multiple science and mathematics courses in this building; state-of-the-art resources will transform their education and enhance their job-readiness skills. The Center will also be a vital resource for our community, supporting research, innovation, and other educators throughout the region.
The Center will be LEED Silver Certified, maximizing the building’s sustainability, and will be utilized as a teaching tool for sustainable initiatives. An exciting example is having a Toilet of the Future on site, an innovation supported by the Gates Foundation. This Toilet does not require water, but instead uses electrolysis for treating and reducing human waste. As wastewater management is an enormous issue on Cape Cod, this system can be studied by students and considered as a solution to our local wastewater management challenges—a challenge that impacts every business and household on the Cape.
The Commonwealth, and the College, have funded $28 million of the $38 million building cost. The Cape Cod Community College Educational Foundation is responsible for raising the remaining $10M. Cape philanthropist, Mrs. Maureen Wilkens, generously contributed $5 million to this project.
The Foundation’s capital campaign now has $2.7 million left to raise. We are asking our community to help us secure the future of Cape Cod by making a contribution to complete the Center. To complete this building project, everyone’s support is absolutely essential. Your financial contribution is an investment in the future of your Cape Cod—to make sure it stays as unique and special as it is now.
For further information about the project and ways to give, please visit www.ccccfoundation.org.
Dr. Donald Crampton serves as the Dean of Academic & Student Affairs for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at Cape Cod Community College. Dr. Crampton earned a B.A. in Biochemistry at Ithaca College, a Ph.D. in Botany at Arizona State University and worked as an NIH post-doctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Prior to this appointment at Cape Cod Community College, he served as Director of Advising and Academic Success at Mills College (CA). He specializes in developing research-based, data‐informed and student‐centered approaches to institutional effectiveness.