The Ribbon is cut Tuesday at the new NECC Extended Campus in O'Neill
O’NEILL – Northeast Community College and residents of North Central Nebraska commemorated the opening of the College’s new extended campus facility here Tuesday with a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.
“This is a tremendous day for our North Central Nebraska residents and four our beloved Northeast Community College. Let me welcome you to the newest member of the Northeast Community College family – our new extended campus serving you in north central and western counties in our more than 14,000 square mile, 20 county district.” said Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president. “We are here to officially christen this new facility and to dedicate it to the host of people who have made this dream a reality. This new and beautiful building would not have been possible without many of you who are present here today. Please let me say from the bottom of my heart – a sincere ‘thank you.’”
While the building may be new, Northeast’s presence in the region is not. The College opened its prior extended campus in a 77-year-old former elementary school building in O’Neill in 1998. Northeast successfully raised over $3 million through a capital campaign to construct the new 15,075 square foot extended campus facility at 505 East Highway 20.
The building has state-of-the-art classrooms, high technology computers, advanced health and science labs, and a large, attached technical training wing that can accommodate welding, industrial, and agriculture-related courses.
Larry Poessnecker, Atkinson, a veteran member of the Northeast Community College Board of Governors, said during the ceremony, that the new extended campus will truly meet the needs and expectations of the College’s entire western region.
“From the time the capital campaign began until now, patrons watched and expressed appreciation in having such a first-class facility available. The entire process has been the product of countless volunteers to get this accomplished without the use of any tax dollars. This new extended campus is going to change lives for generations to come.“ Gene Willers, Pilger, board chair, called Tuesday a great day for Northeast and its constituents.
“This facility and this partnership with the people of this region are both the direct result of hearing from constituents about the need as well as forming a partnership to get it accomplished. Northeast Community College remains right here in your backyard, but with many more opportunities. I wish to thank the region for its support, the donors who made it possible for this facility to become a reality and to everyone involved in the campaign who made it happen.”
New opportunities through Northeast’s extended campus include additional early entry classes for high school students in both transfer and technical areas; additional health related course offerings – lifetime wellness, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), first aid; more short-term technical training prospects in areas such as welding , small engines, agriculture, wood working, and certifications; business and industry training in areas such as entrepreneurship, leadership, succession planning, and employee on-boarding; and student support services such as advising, testing, tutoring and a writer’s clinic. In all, over 100 credit and non-credit courses and classes will be offered through the extended campus.
Northeast is also partnering with Bellevue University in O’Neill. Bellevue will work with Northeast students by providing additional coursework and opportunities to earn bachelor and masters’ degrees all while staying closer to home. It will offer upper level undergraduate and graduate level courses and programs for constituents in the Northeast Community College service area with a primary focus on non-traditional working adults.
“Bellevue University is honored to be part of this regional extended campus,” said Dr. Mary Hawkins, president. “We are excited to work with an entrepreneurial partner like Northeast Community College to provide educational opportunities and workforce development.”
The City of O’Neill contributed $750,000 to the capital campaign. Mayor Bill Price said the community is pleased to be part of the effort to expand educational opportunities in the region.
“I feel fortunate that the City has been given the opportunity to be a part of this exciting and much needed expansion. We are so thankful for Dr. Chipps, the Board and the staff for their commitment to secondary education in our region.”
Those who attend the dedication also heard from someone who attends Northeast in O’Neill. Kelli Munoz, O’Neill, a non-traditional behavioral science student, said as the mother of four young children, she questioned whether she could pursue a degree. However, the location of Northeast’s extended campus in her hometown convinced she could achieve her dream.
“Whenever I have had a struggle or a concern I knew I was welcome to come to the O’Neill office and my questions were always addressed by someone in person. I have formed a bond with the staff at the O’Neill office and I have met many new people along the way. I am close to being done with my degree. I never would have even pursued furthering my education if there had not been a campus here in O’Neill.”
In addition to O’Neill and its main campus in Norfolk, Northeast Community College operates extended campuses in South Sioux City and West Point and regional offices in Ainsworth and Hartington.