There is a slightly different look to the Southwest Colorado Community College-West Campus these days. New signage that has sparked some questions that warrant this column.
When legislation passed and the merger between San Juan Basin Technical College and Pueblo Community College (PCC) was completed in July 2009, PCC was left to ensure its accreditation status with the Higher Learning Commission, a national accrediting body. This rigorous exercise included a demonstration that two institutions had been integrated into one strong, robust and fiscally viable college. Accreditation is critically important to Pueblo Community College and all of its multiple locations, because it is ultimately the vehicle that allows our students access to financial aid.
In September 2010, when representatives of the Higher Learning Commission visited SCCC-West, there was great confusion (on the part of the commission) as to Who We Are, and we were directed to sort it out, rectify and clarify it as soon as possible. To our friends and colleagues in Mancos/Cortez, please be aware that the new signage there is only intended to do just that. While students there take their course work on the campus of SCCC-West, they receive a diploma from Pueblo Community College when they graduate. This clarification was met with satisfaction from the Higher Learning Commission. Simply put, Pueblo Community College is the overall name of our institution, and it has a main campus in Pueblo and multiple locations in Canon City, SCCC-East (Durango) and SCCC-West (Mancos/Cortez).
I encourage you to look past the signage and take a look at your college. If you tour the campus, youll see that the main building has been totally remodeled, including having had upgraded technology installed. We have added a cosmetology program to our offerings. We have pursued and obtained a Governors Energy Grant that will allow us to offer green technology programs. We are in the process of remodeling to create a biology lab. We have reached an agreement with the local school district to offer a Gateway to College program for at-risk students in your community beginning this fall. We have retained all personnel from SJBTC, etc.
In all, Pueblo Community College has invested more than $1 million in infrastructure improvements and life and safety concerns since July 2009. This does not include any costs related to human resources, instruction, purchasing, etc.
Despite the signage, we are doing business there as Southwest Colorado Community College, and this campus is, without a doubt, your community college. We remain committed to providing affordable, access to all students and the best possible educational opportunities available within our means. We are proud to be your partner and look for great things to come as we grow in this part of our service area.
Patty Erjavec is president of Pueblo Community College and oversees the direction of its main campus in Pueblo as well as its Fremont Campus in Canon City and its Southwest Colorado Community College branches in Cortez/Mancos and Durango.