From “NTC’s Phillips campus to see expansion” — Northcentral Technical College’s (NTC) North Campus in Phillips is gearing up for an expansion project aimed at better meet the needs of community industries and accommodating the swelling number of learners advancing their skills and knowledge there.

“We’re seeing some extraordinary growth at the campus in Phillips,” NTC Dean Roberta Damrow said when introducing the project to city officials at the June 4 meeting of the Phillips Committee of the Whole.

In 2012, the campus served around 1,200 learners, some of them on paths of continuing education and others enrolled fulltime.

Damrow described last year’s enrollment total as “unprecedented” for Phillips.

Beyond student growth, additions aim at addressing the needs of local employees as determined through community meetings, according to Damrow.

Damrow said that NTC “heard loud and clear” that a machine shop was needed along with a means for building technical skills in machining. Reps of the college also picked up on the fact that local industries would like to see a manufacturing technician degree added. The area of study prepares learners to be, as Damrow puts it, “a jack of all trades,” and draws on skill-sets in electronics, welding, and machining as needed.

“So, we’re working on some curriculum development, but what that means is that we didn’t have enough room,” Damrow said.

She presented a printout of the campus to help illustrate to city officials where the two additions are going.

The first part of the expansion project will put 2,300 square feet worth of added flex lab space on the front of the existing lab wing.

A 4,500 square-foot classroom addition is planned for the south end of the building. Key features of the new space include meeting and ITV distance education areas as well as two large classrooms. Able to accommodate up to 100 people at a time, the classrooms will be available for community events outside of instruction hours.

“That’s something we wanted to be able to do to be a good community partner,” Damrow said.

The expansion will bring the total size of campus facilities from 17,500 to 23,5000 square-feet. That’s a great departure from the original campus building, a green number covering only about 5,000 square-feet. This relatively humble building served Phillips learners from the time NTC’s North Campus was founded in 1987 until 2010, when an extensive renovation project wrapped up thanks to the donation of land and a warehouse building by Phillips Plastics.

“So, we’re going to be able to accommodate a lot more learners,” Damrow said.

Last year, NTC’s North Campus in Phillips saw learners from a total of 19 counties and four states.

“People are coming from many different areas to live and work and be in this community, and they’re taking classes to kind of get retooled,” Damrow said.

The project will be funded using money in NTC’s capital budget.

“[Funding] goes to where the demand is, and we were able to show a demand,” Damrow said.

Bids for the project are slated to be opened sometime in July, with a late-July ground breaking tentatively scheduled. The goal is to have the additions ready in time for the start of second semester classes in January.


From “CVTC eyes expansion, new River Falls leadership” — RIVER FALLS — Chippewa Valley Technical College is expanding its leadership team at the River Falls campus as it prepares for an expansion of the campus itself.

Beth Hein was also named campus administrator and dean at River Falls, effective with the start of the spring term this week. Hein had served as the school’s dean of business and service.

Among Hein’s new duties in River Falls will be to direct an expansion of both the physical facilities and program offerings at the campus that opened in the 1998-99 term.

“Our plan in River Falls is to create a comprehensive campus, one in which all the services available at the Eau Claire campus will be available at the River Falls campus,” said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Roger Stanford.

The size, function, design, cost and financing of the physical expansion have yet to be determined, according to Director of Facilities Doug Olson.

“In 2010, CVTC purchased land adjacent to the campus in anticipation of future expansion needs,” Olson said. “We will now be doing the research to determine what form the expansion should take.”

The same goes for a planned expansion of programs.

The school offers nine programs through its River Falls campus. That number is likely to grow.

“We are doubling down on River Falls,” said Stanford. “We are adding leadership there, and Hein will do research to define the right program mix for the River Falls area.”

“The St. Croix Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, and it’s reflected in our growing enrollment at River Falls,” said Chippewa Valley President Bruce Barker. “We intend to do more to serve this area of our district, and Beth Hein will be taking a leadership role in working with the people, businesses and industry of the area to determine how we can best meet their needs.”

With its main campuses in Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College serves an 11-county area, including Pierce, Pepin and Dunn counties, and part of St. Croix County.

Growing enrollment

For the 1998-99 term, 899 different students were enrolled, including those in noncredit classes. However, those students made up only the equivalent of 28 full-time students.

By the 2003-04 term, 1,054 different students were enrolled, for a full-time equivalent of 154 students.

In the 2011-12 term, 1,160 different students made up 318 full-time equivalent students.

“The campus is at 100 percent capacity. Every room is booked virtually every hour of the day,” said Stanford.

“It’s going to be an adventure,” Hein said, emphasizing how much she’s looking forward to the new professional challenge. “One of the most exciting things is to get to know the region better and to learn how to meet the needs of the businesses and industry.”

Gaining a better understanding of their needs will drive the decisions on program expansions that affect the direction on facilities, Hein said.

This strategy will also serve the students well, Hein added. CVTC works to prepare students for employment in jobs available in the local job market.

“I will be doing the research to better align the programs to the employment needs. We want to be sure that whatever we’re adding, there’s a job out there for those students,” Hein said.

 Current programs

The River Falls campus offers programs in administrative professional; business management; human resources; marketing management; nursing; nursing assistant; criminal justice; building construction; and liberal arts.

In addition, Hein will strive for further partnerships with other educational institutions that serve the St. Croix Valley, including UW-River Falls, area high schools, and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, which has a campus in New Richmond.

Stanford said partnerships involve high school students gaining technical college credits for completion of certain classes that meet the College’s standards. Likewise, CVTC students may earn credits transferrable to UW-River Falls and other four-year institutions.

In her past assignments at CVTC, Hein has already worked on such agreements in the St. Croix Valley.

Hein is also looking forward to forming relationships with the students at the River Falls campus. It’s something she’s used to doing at the Eau Claire campus.

“We work very hard with students who are struggling, letting them know what kinds of services are available to them. We want to see everyone succeed,” Hein said.

Said Stanford: “We want to have a dean present to answer student questions and work closely with them to help them succeed. Beth will be there every day to provide help and guidance to students.”

From “Madison College Portage Campus expansion” — Frances Huntley-Cooper addresses a crowd of about 60 people on Wednesday at the official presentation of the expansion at Madison College Portage Campus. Huntley-Cooper is the chairwoman of the Madison College District Board of Trustees. She thanked the community and commerce for supporting the expansion. The 2,200-square-foot expansion behind the existing facility at 330 W. Collins St., is mainly for science education and hands-on labs to teach students skills that employers say are in high demand. Thanks to a $952,000 building referendum approved in 2010, those kinds of classes will be more common in Portage. The referendum passed with 60 percent of the vote. Expansion includes a video conference room, two additional science labs, a new lounge and computer area. The Portage campus encompasses about 11 acres, said John Alt, north region administrator for Madison College. “Really, the intent of this build out is to complete the arts and sciences degree. Before people had to go to U-Boo (University of Wisconsin-Baraboo), or MATC-Reedsburg or Truax in Madison,” he said. Enrollment is predicted to increase in Portage by at least 10 percent, Alt said.

From “Business, labor back $66.5 million Fox Valley Technical College referendum” — Business and labor organizations don’t always agree, but both groups have set aside their differences to rally behind one cause — passage of Fox Valley Technical College’s $66.5 million referendum.

The two groups say the April 3 referendum, which would cover assorted campus upgrades and expansion at the college’s main Grand Chute campus as well as its facilities in Oshkosh and Chilton if approved, would yield broad community benefits.

On Monday, the Fox Valley Area Labor Council AFL-CIO said it endorsed the referendum during its February meeting. This followed an endorsement in mid-February by the board of directors at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which represents more than 1,400 businesses.

“I think the message to the community here is when you get two sides with divergent opinions the past few years (supporting) a project like this, it shows we both believe it to be in the best interests of the entire Fox Valley community,” said Mark Westphal, president of the labor council, which is affiliated with about 35 regional unions and represents about 9,000 AFL-CIO members.

He said enhancing FVTC’s offerings will improve the community and in this instance, political views and stance on issues should be set aside.

“FVTC services a broad cross-section of the community,” Westphal said. “It will not only benefit the business community, but middle-class workers and young students trying to better themselves.”

Mike Weller, who serves as treasurer of Friends of FVTC, a group campaigning for passage of the referendum, said having the business community and labor rally behind the referendum shows both recognize the college’s importance to the region.

“In terms of meeting the needs of the community, it meets everyone’s needs,” Weller said. “The tech offers a place where people can improve their skills and businesses need those people to help the area grow.”

FVTC’s $66.5 million proposal would cover building improvements to deal with increasing enrollments, crowded facilities and the growing need for a skilled and trained workforce.

It includes seven projects with most of the proceeds, if approved, going toward a $32.5 million public safety training center that would be built on 74 acres of leased land on the south end of Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville.

Other projects for the Grand Chute campus include an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center, $7.4 million student success center, $6.2 million transportation center expansion and $3.5 million agriculture center expansion.

The referendum package also includes borrowing $1 million to purchase land next to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Oshkosh for future expansion, $1.4 million to buy the Chilton Regional Center, which the college now leases, and $300,000 to add a classroom/lab to its Chilton facility.

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