RIDGEFIELD — Clark College officials presented an update on its north county satellite campus during a meet-and-greet preceding its board of trustees meeting in the library at View Ridge Middle School on Wednesday afternoon.
The 70-acre site, northeast of the Ridgefield Interstate 5 junction with Pioneer Street, was purchased by the Clark College Foundation from former dairy farmers Hank and Bernice Boschma in 2014. As part of the deal, the family also donated land valued at $3.1 million.
Clark College at Boschma Farms is projected to open in fall 2021 with one 70,000-square-foot building. That’s the same size as Clark’s new STEM Building, said William Belden, Clark’s vice president of student affairs.
That first building is expected to house advanced manufacturing, general education classrooms, student study areas and offices. Over time, the building will accommodate 1,169 full-time students and about 50 staff.
Eventually, six more 70,000-square-foot instructional and administrative buildings will be built on the site. The college will continue to seek major capital funding from the state to fully build the campus over the next two decades.
Clark College at Boschma Farms
What: North county satellite campus.
Where: To be built on 70 acres in Ridgefield.
Timeline: Pre-design and design starts next year, construction begins in 2019, and the campus is expected to open in fall 2021.
“This is government money,” said Vancouver City Councilor Jack Burkman, a trustee. “It flows slowly.”
But first, there’s planning work to be done, Belden said. The college has established a visioning task force that includes representatives from north county communities, local businesses, college faculty and staff and foundation staff. That group will guide the work of MacKay Sposito, the firm hired to provide consulting and technical services. The planning process also will include a series of workshops open to community members.
The college and the Clark College Foundation are working on a development agreement with the city of Ridgefield to cover land-use regulations, development standards, traffic impact fees and other site requirements.
Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow painted a rosy picture of the small city’s economic growth: 240 new housing starts last year and a projected 350 new housing starts this year.
“We think this is the right place and right time to be here,” Clark College President Bob Knight said.
“Obviously, it’s an exciting partnership for the city. A great fit for the college,” said Steve Stuart, Ridgefield’s city manager. “It’s another indicator of the growth in and around Ridgefield. It also will spur growth. Clark College coming is a great selling point for other businesses. It offers a built-in workforce development tool.”
Ridgefield Port Commissioner Bruce Wiseman credited the construction of the overpass at the Ridgefield junction at I-5 as catalyst for opening doors for Clark College and other development coming to the city.
“It was a natural fit. A marriage made in heaven,” Knight told the crowd.
He added that about 1,700 students who live in north county drive to Clark’s main campus in Vancouver to attend classes.
“To have Clark College come out here is like frosting on the cake,” Onslow said. “I can hardly wait to see what classes they’ll offer here. You’re never too old to learn.”