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Learning Center Planned at Grand Coulee

GRAND COULEE, Wash. — Legislative support is being sought for a new learning center to provide higher education opportunities in Big Bend Community College’s service district.

The proposed Washington State University Learning Center will be located at BBCC, with the initial outreach provided simultaneously to the Grand Coulee area.

The request will be made by WSU, the Grant County commissioners, BBCC and the Grand Coulee Dam School District. Plans for the proposed center were outlined during a news conference here Tuesday.

This learning center proposal is one of eight to go before the 1997 state legislature.

“In collaboration with Big Bend, the proposed WSU Learning Center would provide opportunities for degree programs, upper division credit courses and continuing education classes to time- and place-bound adults,” said Jim Zuiches, dean of WSU’s College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

Six WSU Learning Centers approved in 1996 are already serving students. These centers provide access to higher education admissions and registration information, libraries, database information, technology transfer data, alumni and event information on higher education resources of WSU, Zuiches said.

Learning center programs are delivered by traditional education methods, satellite broadcasts, videotapes and computer on-line courses. Credit education leading to an undergraduate degree in social sciences is currently available.

“Grant County commissioners are enthusiastic about this project,” said Tim Snead, Grant County commissioner. “We think it will help our citizens further their education and help them go after higher wages and better jobs.”

BBCC President Bill Bonaudi said he will “look forward to working with WSU to expand upper division course offerings leading to bachelors’ degrees for place-bound students in our service district.” BBCC’s 4,600-square-mile service district includes Grant and Adams counties and the Odessa School District in Lincoln county.

The continuing effort to establish an interactive television classroom and computer learning lab in Grand Coulee’s Center School is nearly complete. WSU Learning Center activities would be co-located in the Center School facilities.

The Center School project is the result of a partnership among the Grand Coulee Dam School District, BBCC, the U.S. West Foundation, and the Institute for Extended Learning for Spokane Community Colleges. The first classes featuring a two-way interactive audio-video link with a similar classroom on Big Bend’s campus are expected to begin this spring.

Elvin Kulp WSU Cooperative Extension agent in Ephrata, and BBCC Assistant Dean of Instruction Denise Yochum are coordinating the WSU Learning Center efforts.

Questions or requests for additional information should be directed to Kulp at 754-2011, ext. 360, or Yochum at 762-6352.

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