STAPLES - Joe Opatz, interim president of Central Lakes College, on Sunday announced several major new initiatives for the Staples campus.
At the campus open house here Opatz outlined measures in response to decreasing enrollment experienced by some programs.
An update on the Heavy Equipment Operations and Maintenance construction project. HEOM is expected to begin using its new $4.8 million West Campus maintenance facility in the fall of 2007. Preceding the completion of the new structure will be the vacating of a main-campus maintenance lab.
A new science lab next fall in Staples will serve the liberal arts requirements of CLC students, including practical nursing students, who are to be served through Staples campus classrooms next fall. And science isn't the only subject area to be offered at Staples. Other general education courses will be available at Staples in 2006.
CLC was recently named a partner in the Consortium for Manufacturing and Applied Engineering. Housed at Bemidji State University, this Center of Excellence will use a grant of $2 million to $4 million over two years to increase enrollment of high school graduates in programs that lead to manufacturing and engineering careers. As a Center of Excellence, the Staples campus will focus on applied research to help businesses and industry associations stay in the forefront of meeting workforce challenges.
CLC has begun to explore the feasibility a bio-agronomy technology program as a new academic offering geared toward training of employees in this emerging industry. An $8,000 Carl Perkins Program Development grant will be used for industry research before a large-scale commitment of resources. The proposed program would provide students with a base knowledge of agronomy and an in-depth study of technology and its evolving use in modern agriculture.
A heating system that will burn corn to heat the Staples campus has been approved for installation as soon as sufficient equipment suited to the campus capacity is secured. Funds for labor to install the system are available. Norm Krause, Central Lakes Ag Center director, said additional funding partnerships are sought to procure equipment. "We could produce the corn ourselves," Krause said, noting this could produce tangible energy savings for the college.
The college will use its $115,000 of a $587,000 grant from the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources to work with the University of Minnesota to work toward reducing nitrates and phosphorus losses to groundwater and surface waters of sandy regions through the development, promotion, and adoption of new farming and land management practices. Krause is the coordinator.
The appointment of Wendy Schluender as vice president of the Staples campus.
Schluender is vice president of student affairs and will continue in that capacity until the college puts in place a vice president of academic and student affairs.
CLC, which is also awaiting the outcome of a national search for its new president, has operated with Opatz in the dual role as president and vice president of academic affairs. A tentative timeline anticipates the naming of a president by the end of the current academic year.
"It is an honor to assume the leadership role at our Staples campus," said Schluender. "Our focus will be on what has worked successfully in our past to create a shared vision for our future. I am looking forward to working with students, faculty, staff, educational and community leaders to sustain and enhance our programs and in pursuing partnerships that support student and community growth."
Carol Tulikangas, who has split her time between the Brainerd and Staples campuses in a role as associate vice president of academic affairs, will continue to supervise the college's technical programs.
"This will give the campus leadership stability and a community focus, as Wendy will be working with the community and support staff in the recruitment of students," said Opatz. "It's a positive for the community."
Schluender is expected to spend the majority of her time at the Staples campus during the transition period.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.