Prineville COCC Campus Opens

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Raime Hedman

Kirsteen Wolf
The Broadside

A collaborative effort between regional, federal and educational entities resulted in a new campus in Prineville. The Crook County Education and Technology Center had its ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 13.,2011.

The Open Campus concept, according to the OSU extended campus website, is “an emerging partnership between Oregon State University, Oregon’s community colleges, the Association of Oregon Counties, regional economic development groups, and K-12 education systems, libraries, and local businesses.”

President of Central Oregon Community College, Dr. Jim Middleton remarked that this model of collaboration was a symbol of how entities can function to achieve benefits in their community and that teamwork created results that one agency acting alone could not have accomplished. COCC classes had been offered in the OSU extension service building but with the space and the resources of the new campus, there are more opportunities for Prineville residents. As of the ribbon cutting, there were 150 students enrolled. The average age is 39.

The campus coordinator, Suzie Kristensen is working on adding lab sciences to the new campus’ list of offerings. In the future, with the science class as well as online and in-person classes, the Prineville campus will be able to offer AAOT degree. This degree can transfer to many four-year universities. Students would no longer have to travel to Bend to complete this degree. The science classes have to have a lab component that cannot be accommodated in Prineville yet.

“I’m working on that,” said Kristensen.

In the commemorative publication available at the opening, Scott Cooper, former Crook County judge and the executive director of the Partnership to End Poverty, referenced Oregon’s triennial employment handbook. According to the handbook, by 2018, one out of four jobs created in Oregon will require a two year degree or better.

“The workforce of tomorrow is not the workforce of today,” said Cooper at the ribbon cutting. “We’re keeping up.”
Joyce Garrett, a COCC board of directors member and a member of the governor’s educational task force graduated from Crook County High School.

‘I am extremely excited to be able to offer higher education in my hometown,” she said.

The six months between the ground breaking and completion made for a tight construction schedule according to builder Matt Cohen. But Vice President for Administration for COCC Matt McCoy called all involved in making the building a reality “the most collaborative forward-thinking group that I have had the opportunity to work with.”

With students making their way to the new building to begin or continue their education, the new computer labs and lounge will be broken in, backpacks will be resting next to chairs and the parking lot will be full.

“It’s a bright horizon,” said Kristensen.

You can contact Kirsteen Wolf at kwolf@cocc.edu

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