MADERA COUNTY (KFSN) --Plans are underway to develop a community college in Madera County. An existing center on Avenue 12 offers classes in affiliation with Reedley College.
We're still about three to five years away. Right now, the Madera Community College Center runs most of its operations through Reedley College but the process has already begun for it to be an accredited college.
There's room to grow on the 120 acres where the Madera Community College Center sits. In the future, people here will have new classroom buildings and labs to accommodate a growing student population. "We have the needs there. We have 3,000 students there. We're growing at 4-percent a year-- this past year our projections are in three to five years we will be the size that it can be an accredited college," said Bill Stewart, Interim Chancellor.
An accredited Madera college has long been the goal of the State Center Community College District, and now plans are underway to get them there.
The Madera Center currently offers college courses but administration and degrees are facilitated through Reedley College. Getting an accreditation would mean Madera could be a fully operational college on it's own. If the accreditation is approved it would be Madera County's only community college. "It is probably the largest county, with the population it has, that does not have a community college within itself-- a stand-alone accredited community college," said Stewart,
The process to get to that point would mean more funding to pay for new classrooms and buildings, plus approval of the board.
Students were thrilled to hear about the possible expansion which would also mean more course offerings, technical education opportunities, and degree options. "My husband has to take classes far away at Reedley and Willow, and right here he would be-- they need plant science and all the agricultural stuff and that would be convenient for him if he could just come here instead of riding back and forth far away from here," said Maria Oropeza, Madera College student.
"More classes going to provide more students teachers," said Oscar Colomer, Madera College student.
If Madera receives accreditation it will be the State Center Community College District's fourth college.
It also oversees Reedley, Fresno City, and Clovis Community Colleges.