Foundation paves way for local COCC campus
The go-ahead to accept a land donation from the Bean Foundation for the building of a Madras campus was approved unanimously Oct. 17 by the Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors, at a meeting held in Madras.
Classes at the current Madras College Center have outgrown the capacity of its rented office complex on Third Street. In fact, the COCC Board, had to meet next door in the COIC office because all the COCC classrooms were in use.
"Our English as a Second Language (ESL) class has had an overwhelming response," said Madras Center Director Susan Kovari, noting there are 20 students in the current class and 60 on a waiting list.
Other classes taught at the Madras center include Adult Basic Education, GED, High School Completion, community education, and college distance learning credit classes.
Matt McCoy, COCC vice president for institutional advancement, outlined a draft proposal the Bean Foundation and COCC have been working on. COCC Board Member Don Reeder, of Madras, also happens to be the legal counsel for the Bean Foundation.
"A year ago, Don came to me about possibilities for Jefferson County and COCC. Discussions progressed and we hope we've come to a meeting of the minds for a site for a Madras COCC campus," McCoy said.
McCoy said the Bean Foundation offered to donate 50 acres of property, either in the Grizzly Road or Ashwood Road areas of Madras, for COCC to build a campus.
Conditions were put on the land agreement, however, to encourage the college to begin building fairly soon and not stop with just one building.
The draft agreement said the land would be given away in three parcels: 15 acres initially in exchange for COCC building an 8,500 square-foot building within a five-year period. A second 15-acre parcel would be donated after that in exchange for COCC constructing another 8,500 square-foot building or addition within 10 years. Finally, under phase three, the Bean Foundation would donate the remaining 20 acres if COCC constructs a third 8,500 square-foot building or addition within 10 years.
The Bean Foundation was begun by the late Al Bean of Madras to help fund community improvement projects, particularly ones benefiting local children. When Bean passed away in the late 1980s, his will left 300 acres of land and $250,000 to be distributed through his foundation. Projects have included land donations for Bean Park, Juniper Hills Park, Jefferson County Middle School, and money to help the SMART program, build MHS tennis courts, Jefferson County Library, Culver athletic fields, start a nursery program at Crooked River Ranch, and many other projects.
Bean Foundation Board members working on the COCC project included Diane Ramsey, Carol Peterson, George Neilson, Sumner Rodriguez, and Phil Riley.
COCC board members were asked for their thoughts on the Madras campus proposal.
"When I first heard of the idea I was immediately excited, and I'm extremely impressed with both sites. You guys have done a wonderful piece of community work. The community stands to benefit no matter which site we go with," said board member John Rhetts.
Board member Kate VanVorhees noted, "The Ashwood Road site really caught my eye because it is across from the middle school and having close classrooms would be beneficial."
With that, VanVorhees made a motion to authorize the college to enter into an agreement with the Bean Foundation for the transfer of the Ashwood Road property to COCC, which was passed unanimously.
Bean Foundation Board Member Ramsey was equally pleased. "When Matt first came to our meeting and said the college was considering building I thought it may happen, but not for 20 years," she admitted, adding, "I'm pleased this is going ahead so quickly.
COCC President Bob Barber agreed, noting the Redmond North Campus was also proposed and completed quicker than people had thought it would be.
Of the Redmond campus, Barber said, "We were able to move ahead quickly because we used the (donated) land to go after grants." He noted the Madras situation would be similar.
Madras CenterEarlier in the meeting, Kovari reported that the Madras College Center has 18 Adult Basic Education (ABE) students, two GED students, and two working on High School Completion programs.
In the 1999-00 year, the center graduated seven GED students, two of which went on to attend COCC in Bend. Last year six students finished the High School Completion program.
Other offerings at the Madras Center include:
Even Start, a family literacy program oriented to ESL students. The class now has 12 families and 16 children enrolled. It also teaches parenting skills early childhood education information.
Computer lab - The Madras center has 11 computers for students to use.
Distance Learning - Brings the Bend COCC campus to Madras with credit class offerings via interactive TV. Seventeen Madras students are enrolled.
Community Partnerships - Madras COCC is working with the Department of Corrections on training potential state prison staff. Over 50 registered for a recent class put on cooperatively by COCC and DOC.
Professional Development and Training - The Madras center is currently working with two Madras businesses to train 14 employees in computer skills. Local businesses may contract with COCC to provide needed training.
Library - COCC is collaborating with the Jefferson County Library's drive to open an arts film theater in the library annex. COCC could offer educational services such as a course on film making.
Chamber of Commerce - COCC is working with the Madras Chamber of Commerce's new Business Retention Program to help existing businesses stay up-to-date and viable.