YORK – A roomful of educators and others from across the York region heard specific details Wednesday for Southeast Community College’s soon-to-be York Learning Center.
Paul Illich, president of SCC, led a delegation from the school to York where the group shared plans and answered questions at the Holthus Convention Center.
The location of Wednesday’s meeting will also house the York Learning Center’s administrative operations if negotiations being undertaken now come to fruition.
Illich said the hope is to “have the Learning Center right here in this space. We feel real good about the progress (toward a lease agreement) we’ve made here,” he commented. Illich termed the Holthus Center a “beautiful facility” that “has things we didn’t know we had” like a full working kitchen for use by culinary students.
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Time makes the ready-made Holthus facility attractive, too.
“We can move quicker here” than at other new learning center sites where renovation, remodeling and/or construction are necessary.
In addition to York, SCC will develop new facilities in Nebraska City, Falls City, Plattsmouth, Wahoo and Hebron. The 15-county region SCC covers is already served by campuses in Lincoln, Milford and Beatrice.
The target date to have all six operating – pending timely facility readiness – is June 2016.
Illich said the SCC board’s goal was to have a Learning Center no farther than 35 miles from anyone living in the college’s 15-county region.
Towns in the York Learning Center’s 35-mile circle include: Osceola, Surprise, Shelby, Rising City, Stromsburg, Polk, Marquette, Phillips, Aurora, Giltner, Harvard, Clay Center, Saronville, Hampton, Bradshaw, Henderson, Grafton, Ong, Shickley, McCool Junction, Fairmont, Geneva, Strang, Ohiowa, Tobias, Milligan, Exeter, Friend, Dorchester, Beaver Crossing, Pleasant Dale, Waco, Utica, Seward, Garland, Bee, Gresham and Staplehurst.
SCC’s president said his board has budgeted dollars to do the expansion right.
“We do have the money to have one staff member, if not two,” assigned to each learning center.
Each center, he said, will likely be a bit different from the others. That’s because course offerings and training will be customized to specific needs in each of the six new regions.
“We want to be more than just a place you take classes,” Illich said, promising administration, academic guidance and other student support services will be available in York.
Amy Chelsey of SCC’s continuing education department said, “We want to focus on business and industry training in York,” which means “we may need special equipment” to teach machining, welding and other manufacturing skills.
Chelsey and Illich both stressed the importance of local people taking a moment to thoughtfully complete surveys that will be appearing soon in York and the surrounding communities.
“In order for this Learning Center to be successful we really need your support,” she said.
“We’re really excited about what we’re doing here,” commented Illich, who also asked for community support and enthusiasm so York’s new asset can be crafted so it serves the greater good of as many area businesses, schools and residents as possible.