The community of Fort Dodge's population grew by more than 1,100 residents as students at Iowa Central Community College moved into their residence halls Sunday.
Parking lots on the campus were full late Sunday morning as cars, vans and even a few trailers from across Iowa and several states packed full of personal belongings arrived to be unloaded with the help of Iowa Central staff and members of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.
John McClure, a first-year Iowa Central student, loaded a refrigerator and a few totes onto a wagon to be taken to his room in the Towers residence hall on the south side of the campus. McClure was anxious to get moved into his new home and was looking forward to getting the school year started.
-Messenger photo by Emilie Nelson-Jenson
John McClure, of Washington, puts his dorm refrigerator into a wagon to move to his room at Iowa Central Community College Sunday afternoon. More than 1,100 students moved into the campus residence halls in preparation for the new school year which begins Tuesday.
"I'm excited for some new adventures," said McClure.
Brady Walker, of Des Moines, a first-year culinary arts student, also kept busy unpacking and preparing his room for the year. He said he looks forward to being part of the culinary program.
"I'm really looking forward to working with Chef Michael," said Walker. "I met him at a convention and he's one of the reasons I decided to come here."
For parents, the day can be fun as they move their children on to a new chapter in their lives, but it can also be an emotional day.
"The parents can be nervous, too," said Iowa Central President Dan Kinney. "They're leaving their kids here, a lot of them for the first time, so as our staff help them move in we help ease that apprehension of the first-year parents by letting them know we will take good care of their kids while they are here."
McClure's mother, Pam McClure, was one of those parents, although she said the day may have been a little easier on her than some.
"He's my second son to move," she said. "And John lived on his own for a while so moving him is a familiar thing for us, maybe not as hard as it would be for some parents."
By shortly after noon, Justin Fenton, of Omaha, Neb., was nearly settled in as he went back to the parking lot to tell his parents goodbye. After a few hugs and a wave goodbye as he watched them drive away, he headed back to finish unpacking his room with a big goal in mind for the upcoming year.
"I'll be wrestling here this year," said Fenton. "I want to win a national championship."
Kinney said as students get acclimated to college life over the next few weeks, there will be a variety of activities offered to introduce them to the campus and the community.
"There will be a lot of activities to get them engaged in Iowa Central and Fort Dodge," Kinney said. "The first couple weeks are when students can be hardest to retain and these events will help them make connections and adjust to the college life. We'll have things happening on campus and at the aquatic center - lots of things to help them all get to know other kids."