(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
This site is one of the six alternate centers where TRCC will offer classes in the Bootheel area. "For many years we have reached out from the Poplar Bluff campus," said Dr. Larry Kimbrow, TRCC executive vice president. The other locations will be in Malden, Campbell, Kennett, Portageville and Bernie.
The Sikeston location will also be TRCC's main site for their nursing program, according to Kimbrow. "Nursing is the cornerstone," he said. Twenty-six nursing students have been admitted for next fall, the maximum, as set by state regulations.
The Center is opening partially in response to pleas by residents and students for TRCC to continue offering courses in Sikeston following their split with Southeast Missouri State University in February. "People realize the education we offer is accessible, affordable and very high quality," Cooper said.
The Center may allow current students to take additional classes by eliminating their daily commute to Poplar Bluff. "Some who are driving may now come to this location," Kimbrow said. With day and evening classes being offered, the Sikeston location may also attract some commuters, if the offered classes work better with their individual schedules.
TRCC's mission in setting up these alternate centers is to provide, in an outreach fashion, a way to help communities in job training and attracting and retaining business, according to Cooper.
"We're very, very heavy in customized training, especially in Sikeston," he said, while Kimbrow added that this customized training may be hard skills or soft skills. Some area businesses TRCC has created partnerships with to provide this training include Alan Wire, Noranda and Good Humor-Breyers.
TRCC also aims to provide residents of the greater Sikeston area with more choices. "That has got to be good for area economy," Cooper said.
To help students further their education beyond their associate degrees, TRCC is currently searching for an education partner to provide bachelor and other degrees. At this time, William Woods is a good possibility, according to Kimbrow.
The new location, which previously housed the Sikeston Head Start Center, is currently being renovated to bring the building up to code regulations. These one-time costs are expected to cost about $50,000, according to Kimbrow.
These renovations should be complete by Aug. 18, the beginning of the fall semester, and TRCC is planning a ribbon cutting/open house for the first or second week of August.
The 11 classrooms will include a computer lab, a full science lab, two interactive television networks and nursing classrooms. "They are huge classrooms," Kimbrow said. "We can put a lot of students in them or even divide them with partitions."
The building is ADA compliant with an elevator, and rooms will also be converted for a bookstore, student lounge and offices. And a sign, labeling the building's new occupants, will be hung soon.
There should also be ample parking at the Center, according to Kimbrow. The playground is being torn out and blacktopped. And if there should be any overflow traffic, a deal will be worked out with the American Legion to access some of their parking lot.
A special registration session is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. July 11, with ASSET testing preceding registration from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Center in Sikeston. Cooper also urged returning and prospective students to view fall course offerings at www.trcc.edu. Returning students can register online, and new and returning students may also register through the TRCC Division of Extended Learning by calling, toll-free, 1-877-TRY-TRCC.