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Custer Campus sees successful first semester

December 28, 2011

The front entrance of the Custer Campus building displays a matched pair of art pieces, designed and painted by several local artists. Each artist took a canvas and was only instructed on what colors to use to create their piece. All of those canvases were then brought back and put together to form the artwork, and the result is stunning.

While Mid-Plains Community College has offered classes in Broken Bow for several years, the new extended campus brings even more opportunities to those wishing to further their education while remaining in the community. In an effort funded completely by private donations, the new facility was completed on the west edge of Broken Bow just in time for fall classes.
Broken Bow Extended Campus Coordinator Don Davis says they have seen about a 12 percent increase in enrollment this semester over previous years here - an increase he attributes to the new building. With that new building came some new classes that had not been offered in Broken Bow before, which has generated a lot of interest from all across central Nebraska. In all, more than 200 people took some type of class at the Broken Bow campus during the fall semester.
Some of those students came from a distance for those classes, from such communities as Gothenburg, Stapleton and North Platte. The EMT class offered at the campus saw students from all across the area, says Davis.
The nursing program has always been rather popular, and while much of the instruction at the Broken Bow campus is done through distance learning the clinical instructor drives from Mullen to teach the hands-on part of the program.
The college has three part-time employees; the rest are adjunct instructors, meaning they are paid by the course. And nearly all of them are local instructors. For example, Dr. Joey Hajda teaches two 4-credit hour classes, which this fall were Anatomy /Physiology and Chemistry. There are also several 3-credit hour classes, including Business Law 1 taught by local attorney Cheryl Guggenmos-Munson, Intro to Criminal Justice taught by local attorney Bill Erickson, and Fundamentals of Human Communication taught by BBHS teacher Jan Custer. Credits for most of these classes are transferrable almost everywhere and required of nearly all 4-year majors.
A wide variety of short courses are also offered at the campus, some of which are very popular and tend to fill up quickly Davis says. One of those is the Quick Books class offered each fall, taught by local CPA Jeff Oeltjen.
All-in-all, Davis says it was a very good first semester at the college. While the class schedules will remain the same for the second semester, some of the legalities of the campus will see a change. Just this past week it was announced the ownership of the campus will transfer to Mid-Plains Community College in January.
The Mid-Plains Community College Board of Governors met Dec. 21, with the Board unanimously authorizing MPCC President Dr. Michael Chipps to execute an agreement to transfer title to the premises known as the Broken Bow Extended Campus to Mid-Plains Community College, and to execute a Deed of Trust in favor of Custer Campus, Inc, to secure performance under that agreement.
According to a press release issued by MPCC, there are two major reasons for making this transfer of ownership. With college ownership, any and all property tax liabilities associated with continued private ownership of the extended campus are eliminated. Also, the college will now assume all insurance involving the extended campus. In his presentation to the Board, Dr. Chipps told the Board that the change is anticipated to save more than $25,000 per year.
Davis says as Custer Campus continues to grow he anticipates the need for a full-time person in his position as coordinator in the future. He reminds area residents that "the college is good for the community because of the training it provides, not necessarily the jobs the campus itself creates."
The campus also provides lots of opportunities for area high school students to take advantage of dual-credit courses. These classes not only fulfill the high school graduation requirements, but also serve as transferrable college credits - giving the students a head start on their college courses.
"Our kids now have the same opportunities that students in the bigger cities have," Davis says proudly.
For more information on any of the courses offered at the Broken Bow Extended Campus, contact campus coordinator Don Davis at 308-872-5259, or davisd@mpcc.edu