Construction on a new $8.9 million building for the Lowcountry Graduate Center is on track to finish this month just in time to open its doors for fall classes in August.

The 50,000-square-foot building, located on Paramount Drive in North Charleston near Interstate 526 and Dorchester Road, will be completed by mid-July, said Chris Duncan, marketing coordinator for the center. Crews will then begin installation of classroom technology and other equipment ahead of the center's targeted move-in date the second week of August, Duncan said. The first classes will be held in the new building on Aug. 19.

The center, which opened in 2001, is a collaboration between the College of Charleston, the Medical University of South Carolina and The Citadel. It helps connect working adults with advanced education opportunities. The center is currently located in an office complex on International Boulevard, near Charleston International Airport. Boeing Co. has purchased the complex and the center must move by the end of August.

The new building will double the center's space and include several new features such as a tutor center, study rooms, a cafeteria, a private lactation room for working moms and a large conference room that can hold up to 150 people.

Timing of the move and new building is perfect for the center, said Director Nancy Muller said. The center has experienced a 32 percent increase in enrollment in the last two years and has maxed out its classroom space for evening weekday classes, Muller said. More than 1,200 students enrolled with the center for the 2013-2014 school year.

"It allows us to enroll more students and offer more programs," Muller said.

The center is in discussions to offer graduate and doctoral programs in education and healthcare services through South Carolina State University, Muller said. The Citadel and the Medical University of South Carolina are also working with the center to develop several new graduate certificate programs. The University of South Carolina is launching a new graduate degree program in engineering management at the center in the fall.

"We are a facilitator that brings together teachers and resources in higher education," Muller said.

Reach Amanda Kerr at 937-5546 or at