Last updated: February 16. 2013 6:30PM - 336 Views

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Today is move-in day for freshmen at area colleges and universities, several of which set records for enrollment and application numbers.

It will be extra crowded at Misericordia University in Dallas Township, which saw the largest increase.

With more room due to a new residence hall, Misericordia shattered its 2-year-old record by more than 140 students. At 522, it will be the largest freshman class in the school's 88-year history. The old mark was 379, set in 2010.

Similar leaps are not in the cards for future classes, a college official said.

"Having reached enrollment goals set by our strategic plan, we plan to level off our controlled-growth initiative, so as to be able to continue to offer the quality education, small class size and personal attention that we are known for," said Glenn Bozinski, director of admissions at Misericordia.

At Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, the record set in 2007 is safe, but barely. Wilkes expects 624 freshmen this year, just three off the all-time record of 627. It is only the second time the freshman class has topped 600.

King's College, Wilkes-Barre, will not set a record but did surpass its goal of 500 freshmen by 15, and this will go down as the fifth largest incoming class in school history.

Luzerne County Community College is reporting fewer new students and a lower overall enrollment than in 2011, though those numbers, as they are for all schools, are unofficial until mid October. The smaller student body comes even though the school saw a 3.6 percent increase in applications from fall 2011 to fall 2012.

Wilkes also saw an increase in prospective freshman applications. It drew 2,979 this year, a record number.

Melanie Wade, vice president for enrollment services at Wilkes, said the school's reputation is driving those numbers.

"We know students and their parents are looking for a college experience in which their children will be mentored to grow as individuals and future professionals," Wade said.

Keystone College in La Plume will boast overall full-time student enrollment of 1,400, the highest in the college's 144 year history.

At 471, Maywood University in Scranton will be about 30 freshmen below its record setting year of 2010 when the school broke the 500 threshold for the first time. At the University of Scranton, 973 freshmen have enrolled, well short of the record set last year of 1,054. The school did, however, set a record for applications as it received 9,673.

Penn State campuses in Lehman Township and Sugarloaf Township will not release figures until they made official in mid-October.

New campus buildings

Students will see some new buildings when they begin classes Monday. At Misericordia, there's also a new athletic team to play in an upgraded venue.

In addition to the opening of the $6.2 million Michael and Tina MacDowell Hall, a 118-bed, 37,000-square-foot, three-story residence hall located just inside the campus' north gate, the school has put the finishing touches on more than $700,000 in upgrades to its Mangelsdorf Field, where the Cougars football team will play home games in its inaugural season.

At King's, a $10.5 million expansion of the Scandlon Gymnasium will be completed by the end of September. The improvements include new bleachers, addition of air conditioning and renovated locker rooms in a 33,000-square-foot, two story addition.

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