Clark College has acquired 59 acres near the Ridgefield Interstate 5 junction that will allow it to take root in north Clark County with educational programs within a decade, college President Bob Knight told The Columbian on Wednesday.
The satellite campus, to be named after the Boschma family that donated and sold land for the college expansion, will extend the reach of the vital institution to an area that increasingly is poised for growth.
The campus would start with one building as early as 2020 and could eventually grow to include four to six buildings, positioning the 81-year-old community college to accommodate growth, Knight said Wednesday in advance of his planned announcement at the Vancouver community college’s annual donor appreciation dinner.
“Everything shows the growth is in the Ridgefield and Battle Ground area,” said Knight, the college’s president since 2007. “We’re being as visionary as we can.” State legislation has already authorized $38.48 million for the project’s design and construction.
The Ridgefield land tract, slightly northeast of the freeway’s junction with Pioneer Street, was purchased by the nonprofit Clark College Foundation for $5.67 million from the Boschma Family LLC, owned by former dairy farmers Hank and Bernice Boschma. The Boschmas also made a $3.1 million land donation as part of the deal. The elderly couple, who live near Bellingham, told college officials they wanted to support expanding education in the region, Knight said. He said the Boschmas, who currently lease a portion of the site to another farmer, originally emigrated from Holland to Ridgefield and took their American citizenship tests at Clark College. One of their daughters attended Clark College.