Less than a year after opening the Wind River Education Center in the Columbia River Gorge, Clark College is expanding its academic and technical offerings and moving into a new, larger facility 18 miles east on Highway 14.
A new Clark College facility in Bingen will offer new classes designed to meet the needs of local employers, as well as existing classes being moved from the current facility in Carson.
The Wind River Education Center in Carson opened in fall 2013 in response to Columbia Gorge residents and school districts requesting access to affordable college classes. The Carson facility will close as the Bingen facility opens for fall quarter, which begins Sept. 22.
Details on the Bingen location are still being negotiated, said Chato Hazelbaker, Clark College spokesman.
Clark College’s expansion in the Gorge is made possible in part by a $315,000 grant from the state of Washington to increase enrollment in aerospace education. Approximately half of the money will go toward providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education at the Bingen facility.
The grant is part of an $8 million statewide program to help two-year and technical colleges prepare future employees in the aerospace field.
The Bingen facility will include a computer lab and classroom space for Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), a skill that many regional employers cite as being in high demand. Clark College will hire a full-time employee in the Columbia River Gorge.
Clark College is moving its Transitional Studies (basic education and GED preparation) programs and other academic offerings previously housed at Wind River to the new Bingen facility. These include Running Start classes, in which high school students take college-level classes for little or no tuition.
Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education will offer expanded, specialized training for local employers and professional-development courses for employees, including blueprint reading, Excel, Word, Outlook, business writing and email etiquette.
A complete list of courses and activities in the Columbia River Gorge will be available on the Clark College website later this summer.