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New building set for STEM growth at Clark College

Monday’s ribbon-cutting just one step in school's ongoing project plans

By , Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter, and
, Columbian Breaking News Reporter
Published: October 1, 2016, 6:05am
2 Photos
Students make their way into the new STEM Building at Clark College on Friday morning. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is at 3 p.m. Monday. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)
Students make their way into the new STEM Building at Clark College on Friday morning. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is at 3 p.m. Monday. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Clark College is inviting the community to Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new STEM building.

The free event will be held at 3 p.m. at the new building, which is located across the street from the Penguin Union Building on Clark College’s main campus, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony does not mean that Clark College has completed its construction plans. The ceremony comes just a few days after state officials forwarded Clark’s request for $5.2 million in start-up funding for its satellite campus near Ridgefield.

As part of that initiative, Clark officials have issued another invitation to the community: It will seek public input on the future campus, to be known as Clark College at Boschma Farms. Two open houses will be held, in Ridgefield and Battle Ground, later this month.

Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by a tour of the $40 million, 70,000-square foot STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) building. The event will include a “build your own helicopter” activity, viewing of a student-built electric car, a microbiology presentation and a tour of the college’s natural history museum.

If You Go

• What: Open houses for community input on master plan for Clark College at Boschma Farm, the north county satellite campus.

Oct. 25: 5 to 7 p.m., Corwin Beverage, 219 Timm Road, Ridgefield.

• Oct. 27: 5 to 7 p.m., Battle Ground Community Center, 912 E. Main St., Battle Ground.

“Clearly STEM is going to be very important to this region’s economy, and we are proud to be able to offer state-of-the-art training and education in this field, continuing a legacy of excellence that stretches more than 80 years,” Clark College President Bob Knight said in a press release.

A map and driving directions can be found at www.clark.edu/maps. Those who need accommodations due to disabilities can call 360-922-2314 or 360-911-0901 prior to the event.

North county campus

During its September meeting, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges approved a capital budget request that includes $5.2 million for Clark College’s north county campus.

Clark has asked for money for predesign and design work, college spokeswoman Toccara Stark said.

“These funds would be for the first 70,000-square-foot building on the site,” she said. (That’s the same size as Clark’s new STEM Building.)

But the state board’s approval a few days ago is just the start of the process, Stark said. The state board’s budget proposals now go to the governor and the Legislature, which will convene in January to write the state’s 2017-2019 operating and capital budgets.

“Between now and actual submittal of request for this funding, the amount requested (by the state board) may change,” Stark said. “In addition, the Legislature can deny the request or approve an amended amount at its choosing.”

Clark College at Boschma Farms is projected to open in fall 2021.

The 70-acre site, northeast of the Ridgefield Interstate 5 junction with Pioneer Street, was purchased in 2014 by the Clark College Foundation from former dairy farmers Hank and Bernice Boschma.