SCRANTON -- From Bon Ton to books and biology -- downtown Scranton has a new college campus and it's in the middle of a shopping mall that's been struggling to find new tenants.
With a snip of the ribbon, the Scranton campus of Luzerne County Community College is open for business inside the Marketplace at Steamtown.
The president of LCCC said the school wanted to be in Scranton for some time. The college looked at 30 sites before deciding on the old Bon Ton space on the second floor of the Marketplace at Steamtown.
The college president and the mall's general manager both say LCCC, the Marketplace, and the city are a perfect fit.
"We're going to be contributing to the economic resurgence in the city of Scranton and we're going to be partnering with businesses and other colleges and universities to enhance the level of educational attainment in the city and the region," said LCCC President Thomas Leary.
"It's becoming more of a destination place and event center, which is where we need to go with this market," added Joseph Kenney, general manager of the Marketplace at Steamtown.
Kenney says the college's presence has more retailers considering opening an outlet in the marketplace.
The college president believes the Scranton center will not cannibalize the Nanticoke operation. He says 80 percent of the students enrolled are new to LCCC and even he is surprised the percentage is that high.
Starting Monday, freshman Brittney Sarahs of Scranton will be there to study nursing.
"The mall, it was busy, but now that there's a school here, it's going to attract more people," Sarahs said.
As for the school, some classrooms are ready for students, others will be by Monday.
And Brittney Sarahs, who last year thought she'd be driving 45 minutes to LCCC's main campus, is glad to be studying close to home.
"If it's snowing or something, it's safer to come here than it is to Nanticoke."