JANE — Construction on Crowder College's McDonald County Instruction Center is moving along as scheduled, with classes set to begin at the new site in January.
The college broke ground on the 30,000 square-foot facility in November 2012, and have scheduled the official ribbon cutting for January 10, 2014, three days before the campus is scheduled to open its doors.
"We've wanted for a long time to have a presence on the very south end of our district," said interim president Dr. Kent Farnsworth. "Partly because it's quite a drive up here for the people in the Jane, Noel, Southwest City area, and partly because we think we have a potential draw in Northwest Arkansas."
Farnsworth said the college expects to see their enrollment increase in those areas once the center opens its doors.
The new campus will have six classrooms, two computer labs, a biology lab, a chemistry lab, a full nursing skills lab, a full-service bookstore, a 200-seat conference room, testing facilities and student commons and study areas.
The campus is located in Jane, on Larry Neff Drive, just off of U.S. Highway 71.
The site will offer a full nursing program, a full general studies program and specialty courses in agriculture, business and education.
Students at the site will also have the chance to take courses leading to a bachelor's degree from either Missouri State University or Missouri Southern State University.
The work is being performed by NABOLZ Construction, who on Friday unveiled the new facility's 8,000-pound cedar arch.
"It's sort of the signature piece for the new building and it is very impressive," Farnsworth said. "It's going to be quite a facility."
Former Crowder president Dr. Alan Marble said at the November groundbreaking that funding for the new campus came in three parts, $1.5 million that was saved up in the Crowder building fund, $3 million that came from refinancing Crowder's bonds, and $1.5 million from fundraising.
Crowder College currently offers nursing classes in McDonald County, at a temporary site on Jesse James Road in Pineville. The program is located in a converted lumberyard.
The college also offers classes at McDonald County High School, Farnsworth said.
"It'll be nice to have a place where we can consolidate all that," he said.
Crowder has continued to expand its coverage area in recent years, now offering locations in nine counties.
"Philosophically the community college system nationwide has always believed that ideally there should be an attendance center within 50 miles or about an hour's drive of every person in the country," Farnsworth said. "That, if we really want to make education accessible it has to be geographically accessible as well as financially accessible. So, a big part of the effort in our district has been to address that geographic access of the community college mission."
Page 2 of 2 - The college also recently named Pam Hudson as the director of the McDonald County Instruction Center. She previously served as the director of development and grants.
Students interested in attending classes at the new site can apply for admission by visiting www.crowder.edu or by calling Hudson at 226-6000.