After a decade of growth, Central Oregon Community College is updating its facilities master plan and the benefits will help manage growth at branch campuses in Redmond, Madras and Prineville.
The master plan was last updated in 2007, but the college experienced an “unprecedented growth in enrollment” during the 2012-13 academic year, according to a draft of the new plan. That growth allowed the college to expand its Redmond campus and add campuses in Madras and Prineville.
Under the new plan, the Redmond campus would benefit the most because it would be able to occupy all its buildings, said Tina Redd, director of the Redmond campus. Currently, one of the college’s buildings is rented out, she said.
“The benefit to Redmond would really be that we could increase the educational opportunities for the community in a way that highlights the forward-looking, technological attitude that we already have,” Redd said.
The campus could also acquire more land that would allow the automotive and manufacturing programs to benefit from additional space.
“Manufacturing needs more space because it requires big machines,” she said. “Size limits the ability to offer industry classes and folks want us to figure out how to meet industry needs.”
Planning to expand in Redmond will help the campus become comprehensive, rather than a branch campus. Comprehensive campuses offer student services, such as counseling, advising and financial aid that currently are only offered part-time, Redd said.
“Having a comprehensive campus that is a full blown community college campus is great for the esteem of the community,” she said. “That’s what we’d like to do.”
The branch campus in Redmond is designated as a center of excellence for careers in technical education, according to the draft for the master plan update. The branch campus in Madras will be able to focus more on agriculture and early childhood education, and the branch campus in Prineville will be able to focus on business.
Those individual focuses will help each campus accommodate program growth as long as growth drives the demand for expansion, said Matt McCoy, COCC administration vice president.
“This is just the beginning of the process,” he said. “Once the plan is settled on and approved it is simply a guiding tool. It is a directive and it’s dependent upon demand and resource availability. It’s flexible.”
While the draft of the master plan addresses expansion of the campus in Redmond and expansion of the programs offered in Madras and La Pine, it also addresses multiple renovations at its main campus in Bend.
Proposed improvements include renovations of buildings that were built in the 1960s and ’70s and the expansion of Mazama Gymnasium. The current campus doesn’t need more buildings, but it needs its existing buildings to be upgraded, McCoy said.
The college wants to keep technology at the center of every conversation, McCoy said.
“The community has great expectations that we are prepared to provide a technological experience for students to best learn from,” he said.
The plan updates also address the potential to acquire the right of way on College Way to use as a pedestrian mall for farmers markets or street fairs, for example, McCoy said. It is just one idea on how to improve student life on campus, which is one of the guiding principles, according to the draft.
A steering committee is still receiving public feedback and is planning to finalize the 2018-28 facilities master plan in May or June and submit it to the board of directors for approval .
“Once we figure out what we want, we can decide how to get it,” McCoy said. “We have to do our homework before we ask the public to invest in anything.”
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