COCC “Stay Close, Go Far” Motto Rings True as New Facility Complete
Following almost a decade of planning and anticipation, Central Oregon Community College has opened its brand new Madras Campus in time for the fall term – with local residents already rushing to fill initial class offerings at Jefferson County’s first permanent college facility.
The $2 million, 10,000 square foot facility, which has emerged just north of Jefferson Middle School on Ashwood Road, was made possible by a land donation by the Bean Foundation – with additional property totaling up to 45 acres also available for future campus expansion – together with funds from the 2009 voter-approved COCC Bond measure.
Additional funding has been provided by a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant, and by the Jefferson County Commissioners.
As well as four state-of-the-art classrooms, the facility includes a 28-seat computer lab, faculty and administrative offices, study room and a community/meeting room that can accommodate 100 participants. The facility will also house the OSU Jefferson County Extension Office.
The building was designed by Steele Associates Architects and construction was handled by Kirby Nagelhout Construction.
COCC VP for Administration Matt McCoy, who also paid tribute to the efforts of community drivers like board member and Madras resident Don Reeder in fulfilling the campus vision, said, “Initially, we will be offering general education classes, together with student support services, and as the needs of the community become clear we will develop programs to address the demand.
“As well as catering to entry level college skills needs throughout the district, in terms of assisting in workforce development we will also be engaging with the local business community to identify specific areas to help advance skills.
“It is also an opportunity for organizations like EDCO (Economic Development for Central Oregon) to boost their business recruitment efforts in Jefferson County as they can now promote the fact that it has an established college presence.
“We have been aware of the needs of the area for some time and it is very rewarding to be able to deliver services, especially in terms of reducing the need for people having to leave their community to advance their education.
“I believe that where Madras is in its economic development maturation, it is poised to be something of the next boom town in Central Oregon, given factors like its proximity to the Portland metropolitan area, recreational amenities and the great groundwork carried out by various local entities in uniting behind shared goals.”
Early in the planning process, the building design team went out into the community with charrettes and presentations to gather input and worked with a broad range of invested parties towards refining the finished product.
The substantial-looking building is wood-framed with masonry veneers and tones reflective of its regional roots.
Once inside, an airy feel is complemented by voluminous Cascade views maximizing orientation on a sloping site, wall treatments reflective of mountainous terrain, and floating ceiling panels providing a cloud-like ambience. Basement storage capacity has also been optimized.
Classrooms feature cutting edge audio-visual equipment, with Madras native Emily Freed of Steele Associates having a hand in the harmonious interior design elements.
Many sustainable elements are incorporated into the building, including Earth Advantage recommended features such as low VOC paints, low flow bathroom fixtures, much use of recycled and local materials, sun screening and low-maintenance landscaping as well as sensor-controlled efficient lighting and HVAC systems.
Steele Associates principal Scott Steele commented, “It has been a pleasure to work with COCC on the master plan and building design for the new facility.
“This campus and building is so exciting because it ushers in a new era of higher education options for the citizens of Jefferson County, and that in turn will help catalyze and support other important aspects of the community as a whole. Access to higher education is intrinsic to a community’s quality of life and economic vitality.
“Our firm has been very fortunate to be able to work on this and other important Madras community projects such as the new City Hall/Police Station & Plaza, as these types of projects have a positive and sustaining generational impact in the community.
“We truly appreciate the opportunity COCC has granted us to be a part of their team and we will continue to work hard to help make the project a huge success.”
Madras Mayor Melanie Widmer hailed the Madras Campus project as “a huge milestone for the city of Madras”, adding, “It’s really a transformational change. We’ve been hoping and wishing for a facility like this for years.”
COCC President Jim Middleton added, “We firmly believe that it’s important for students to get a start on their education in their local community.”
COCC’s board of directors has hired Courtney Snead as coordinator of the Madras campus.
Snead’s responsibilities include site coordination, class scheduling, outreach and providing information to the community about college programs, services and opportunities, as well as helping students navigate through the process of starting classes with COCC. She will also work with the community to identify education and training needs.
541-550-4100 or www.cocc.edu.