Jefferson Greene (second from left), development director for The Museum at Warm Springs, speaks to the crowd at the Madrus campus opening. Accompanying Greene are Marjarie Smith (far left), Joseph Smith (second from right) and Jose Alvarez (far right)
Courtney Snead, coordinator of the new Madras Education Center, can cross the ribbon cutting off the checklist in her office. The event took place on Sept 17 with hundreds in attendance.
“This is a great opportunity for the community,” said Snead.
The facility opened a little more than a month after the Prineville Open Campus had its ribbon cutting. Both buildings are part of the unprecedented construction in Central Oregon Community College’s educational district. Funding for the projects comes in part from a successful bond measure campaign in 2009 bringing over 42 million dollars to fund the expansion.
Mike Ahern, a Jefferson County commissioner, called it a “truly great day” for “one of the poorest counties in the state.”
Jefferson Greene, the development director for The Museum at Warm Springs, sees the facility as meeting the rising demand for education for Warm Springs reisdents without the burden of transportation costs.
“It gives an opportunity for more people to attend school,” he said.
With 186 seats filled —68 percent— and two wait listed classes, the building is filling quickly. The goal, according to Snead is to figure out what programs are of interest to residents.
There are eight credit classes offered so far.
“I have a secret hope that we start an agriculture program here,” Snead said.
Evron Sprouse, a Madras resident and a registered computer-class student, has been waiting two years for the building to open.
“ It’s been 50 odd years since I attended college,” she said.
Like the Prineville Open Campus, many agencies and people went into make the building a reality in addition to the bond measure including the Bean Foundation, city and county agencies, Steele and Associates, Kirby Nagelhout, Matt McCoy, vice president of administration, and COCC’s board members. Julie Mosier from COCC’s office of the Chief Financial Officer,was thanked for her contribution in picking the colors for the interior.
However, the ultimate end to the project is not the completion of the landscaping or other details but the students walking in the door.
“The finish on this facility is what happens inside,” said COCC President Jim Middleton.
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