ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — What initially started as a trailer in the Passavant Hospital parking lot in the North Hills is now home to 5,600 students each semester.

Along Perry Highway, Community College of Allegheny County’s North Campus has become such a strong branch that classrooms and parking spaces are seriously lacking.

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School spokesman David Hoovler says the campus growth stems from a combination of students choosing to lessen their student loans, and also from an uptick in career programs like Allied Health and Nursing.

They’re just some of the two-year degrees that have graduates immediately entering the workforce.

“We have a great demand for programs, including welding and certain trades programs, and the hope would be to have a facility that would have a flexible space that would change as workforce demands change,” Hoovler said.

It’s why CCAC’s board Thursday night approved an $85,000 feasibility study to start looking for a place where growth isn’t a problem.

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The proposed location is in Marshall Township along Innovation Drive.

It has 30-plus acres of land and is close to Interstate 79 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike and school officials say with the amount of undeveloped land there, finding parking will no longer be a problem.

After securing capital funding from the state, along with foundation and corporation donations, the goal is to break ground in five years.

Hoovler says it’s uncertain what CCAC plans to do with the old building after a new one is built.

The announcement comes on the same night that CCAC President Alex Johnson announced he’s moving to another university.

Hoovler says the school is in the process of choosing an interim president before a permanent replacement is chosen.

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