The Redmond campus has grown larger than two stand alone Oregon community colleges. Central Oregon Community College Redmond campus is larger than Tillamook Bay Community College and Oregon Coast Community College.
When the Redmond extension opened in the 1970s, it was operated from a storefront in downtown Redmond. At the time, the extension’s main focus was community learning and adult basic skills.
Today, it has blossomed into an effective branch with a strong community presence. The branch has expanded to add three buildings and a new technology center, which is set to open June 2014.
The growth in Redmond is due to its location and being “at the center of Central Oregon,” according to Matt McCoy, vice president for instruction at COCC.
“Right now, Redmond is sitting on 26 acres of land, which we hope to expand further. The same is also happening to Madras, which has 15 acres, and Prineville as well,” McCoy said.
There are many factors that caused Redmond’s growth to surpass that of Oregon Coast Community College, which has a total of 572 enrolled students, and Tillamook Bay with a total of 436. And the campus is not done growing, according to Dr. James Middleton, COCC president.
“The Technology Education Center [set] to open this fall is the major next step for the campus,” Middleton said. “[The center] will create the platform for expanded collaboration with manufacturing and other business in the region, not just in Redmond.”
The funding for the Technology Center being open in Redmond comes from state funds, a COCC bond measure approved by voters in 2009 and also a $5.7 million match from the state, according to Shirley Metcalf, Vice president and dean of instruction.
“When [Redmond] campus was first set up, it continued to grow and grow,” Metcalf said. “The community has been very supportive of our efforts and the efforts of the school.”
Getting the Redmond campus to where it is today wasn’t an easy task. The campus grew by increments, slowly adding one buildings and classes to campus as the demand grew, according to McCoy.
“We’re using the Redmond example to teach ourselves what’s the best way to respond to the demand and growth and meet the demand in the community.” McCoy said.
Middleton adds that the flourishment of the extension is a “resulting vision set over a decade ago.”
Even with the knowledge that Redmond as just an extension is bigger than Tillamook Bay and Oregon Coast Community College, Metcalf and McCoy agree that the work in the branch is far from being done.
“Students in Redmond receive quick skill increases or improvements, which make the individual more hireable,” McCoy said, “The business in and around Redmond are the manufacturing focus of Central Oregon. So we’ve complemented the industries in the community by offering the program that we have at the Redmond campus.”
Because of its continued growth, Metcalf is also confident that even though Madras and Prineville have their own branches, Redmond will still expand further.
“What really made a difference is that in 2013, we added two science labs and so now we’re able to offer courses like chemistry, biology, and classes that are not offered in the other branches,” Metcalf said.
Redmond growing into what it has become today shows the investment the city has with COCC in furthering the community’s learning opportunities and taking them further into the future.
“It’s a nice combination of many things coming and working together, which have lead to growth in Redmond and what we see today,” McCoy said.
Brayan Gonzalez | The Broadside