NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – Small class sizes are a great selling point for community colleges, but when COVID-19 hit, it really hurt. Still, one is bouncing back.

If you drive along Route 224 in New Castle, you might wonder, what is BC3? It stands for Butler County Community College.

“We are a community college. There are now 15 community colleges in the state of Pennsylvania. The majority of our students come to BC3 looking to transfer on to a four-year school. Our most common destinations are Slippery Rock, Penn State, La Rouche, Westminster. But we also have many students that go into career programs like nursing, physical therapy assisting, accounting, human resources, management, etc.,” said Sean Carroll, director of BC3 at Lawrence Crossing.

Community colleges and satellite colleges like BC3 were the hardest hit by the pandemic. But these colleges are coming back and they can be a viable option if you just need a few credits or are looking to bridge the gap between this and a major university.

Numbers at BC3 are down from 2019.

“We’re down a little bit from years past, coming out of the pandemic. We’re at about 200 students here at Lawrence Crossing, or taking classes online or at any of our other campuses,” Carroll said.

The biggest challenge during COVID-19? The same as the rest of us: lack of interaction.

“The joy it is in working here is having a building full of students. Online classes are great, they fill a great role, but we learned just how much the vibrancy in the building enhances the whole experience not only for ourselves but also for the students that attend here. We’re gonna do a Steeler day, we have Harry Potter trivia, there was a paranormal club meeting last night, because it is more than just the academics,” Carroll said.