POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- The closing of a Missouri Department of Transportation facility could provide new opportunities for learning as Three Rivers College looks to expand its off campus sites.
The college will present a plan to officials in Willow Springs, Mo., in the next two months that would convert the South Central Division 9 headquarters into Three Rivers' newest location, president Dr. Devin Stephenson told the board of trustees Wednesday during their monthly meeting.
Three Rivers officials believe this addition would be as successful as its five existing off-site endeavors, which generated more than $1.3 million in revenue in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
Classes could begin in Willow Springs in January 2012 if the plan is approved by the city council's educational advisory committee, according to Stephenson.
"We were contacted eight weeks ago by Willow Springs officials about bringing higher education opportunities to Willow Springs," Stephenson explained. "They are looking for a higher education institution to come in and create job opportunities."
Paving the way for the project is an existing building that could be used with few modifications.
MoDOT will turn the 30,000-square-foot building over to the city when the location closes due to budget cuts. The city wants to allow a higher education provider to use the facility, which recently underwent a $2.8 million renovation, said Stephenson.
The college already provides workforce development in Willow Springs through the high school. It would look at the new center to serve additional needs identified by the community, Stephenson explained, including heating and cooling classes, a diesel engine program, and welding training.
"What we're interested in is meeting their (Willow Springs') needs and what they are interested in is job creation," he continued.
Representatives of Willow Springs School District also have indicated they are very interested in dual credit services, even to the point of bussing students to the new center, Stephenson continued.
Regardless of which institution is chosen to provide these services, the entity selected needs to have a history of good collaboration, Stephenson said.
"The only way an off-campus site is going to work is with collaboration that is deep and wide," he said.
2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO
Willow Springs, MO