Ricks College expects to hire 30 new teachers for next fall, a sign of the growth that has made the LDS Church-owned school the largest privately owned junior college in the country.
But the college, which will wrap up a yearlong centennial celebration next month, has reached its physical limits, officials said.After nearly two decades of intensive building, the campus has expanded as far as it is intended, and enrollment is bulging past a 7,500-student limit set by the Board of Trustees as part of a master plan adopted in the early 1970s.
The 30 new teachers are needed to meet the needs of a student body that reached its capacity sooner than expected, said spokesman Steve Moser.
The church's Board of Education based the enrollment ceiling on the number of students the school's physical facilities can handle.
Enrollment topped that figure last fall and remained at 7,562 students for the spring semester. Spring enrollment normally drops about 500 students from the fall semester, but this year it only dropped 166 students, Moser said.
The increase was higher than anticipated, and the Board of Education had not budgeted for additional teachers.
Ricks scrambled to find enough teachers at a time when educators have already taken jobs for the school year. The college hired a number of part-time teachers to fill the void but is now seeking full-time teachers for next year.
The Board of Trustees is expected to make a decision Wednesday on the college's budget request for funds to hire the additional teachers, said Ricks President Joe Christensen.
"I fully expect the Board of Trustees to approve the request," he said.
Should the funding be rejected, Ricks officials would have to make some major decisions about how to reduce student-teacher ratios and keep them within acceptable levels.