COCC lays out 10-year plan
Within the next decade, Central Oregon Community College expects to double the size of its Madras campus and expand the current facility.
The 10-year expansion plan includes an addition of about 5,000 square feet on the west side of the current 10,165-square-foot facility and the possible addition of a solar array on property to the north.
"We're in the midst of updating our master plan," Matt McCoy, COCC's vice president for administration told the Madras City Council March 13.
COCC is surveying Central Oregon communities as the college puts together its 2018-2028 facilities master plan.
"We'd like to know what communities believe are the priorities," he said, pointing out that the Madras campus has a computer lab that is open to the public evenings and weekends. "People are using the computer lab."
The Madras campus was built in 2011 on 15 acres donated by the Bean Foundation, with 9,165 square feet on the main floor, and another 1,000 square feet in the basement, which is used for storage. The Bean Foundation will donate another 15 acres for the second phase and 17 acres for the third phase.
"In order to acquire an additional 15 acres, we have to continue to invest in the community," said McCoy, noting that COCC plans to enlarge the parking lot to go along with the expanded facility, and possibly put in a solar array "to make this a net-zero campus."
The third phase, which is at least 15 years out, will have an agriculture research facility and additional parking.
The $2,048,000 Madras facility was part of a $41.6 million college expansion plan passed by Central Oregon voters in 2009.
"The (Madras) community has consistently voted in favor of bond measures and for that, we're grateful," he said.
In addition to the popular computer lab at the Madras campus, there is also a testing lab, student study area, community room that seats 100, several classrooms and offices, a kitchen and an administration area.
While COCC's overall enrollment continues to climb, it is down 30 percent from peak enrollment during the recession. "Madras is the anomaly; enrollment continues to increase incrementally," said McCoy.
Education at a community college is 40 percent cheaper than a university education for the first two years. "Our students that transfer to state universities have higher GPAs," he added.
As COCC moves forward with its plans, the college is following a set of guiding principles laid out by the Master Plan Steering Committee which include making the branch campuses "centers of excellence"; reinforcing community partnerships and adding career and technical education programs; improving student life; maintaining a welcoming campus; improving instructional delivery tools; ensuring academic transfer; and cultivating educational partnerships.
In Madras, among the educational goals are using technology for more distance learning; focusing on agricultural programs and partnerships; partnering with Oregon State University Extension; and supporting education in career and technical programs, such as welding, as well as in the fields of early childhood education and criminal justice.
The college also assists Deer Ridge Correctional Facility with its career and technical education programs, helping inmates earn certification in welding.
"We are a workforce development organization," said McCoy, who considers the Madras community as his favorite that he works with.
"I personally think Madras is on the verge of the next step," said McCoy. "Redmond's getting crowded; I think you're putting everything in place for Madras to be the next destination in Central Oregon."