Probably the biggest change for Butler Community College at Marion in 2014 was moving from its location in the Bown-Corby building to classrooms at the Hill Building on the Marion High School campus.
Amy Kjellin, BCC site director, said it was hard leaving the Bown-Corby location because it had been BCC?s home for almost 20 years.
The good news for Marion County, she said, is that BCC is staying in the area after receiving support from the Marion school district.
?There was kind of a debate about keeping BCC in Marion County,? Kjellin said. ?But thanks to the (Marion) school board and their great effort, we secured a place here.?
The move did require one MHS teacher moving to a new classroom so BCC could have the space it now enjoys, she said.
?We had seven classrooms in the old building, but rarely did we use all of them,? she said. ?It?s definitely more crowded, but so far it has worked fine for what our needs are.?
In addition to finding another location, Kjellin said she is happy to know the city of Marion has found a buyer for the Bown-Corby building.
?BCC had a great relationship with the city, too,? she said, ?They worked with us, but part of the arrangement was BCC held responsibility for maintenance of the building.?
Depending on the year, she said, repairs might be required for the roof, sewer, air conditioning units and issues.
Over the past three years, the changes in enrollment and BCC usage wasn?t in balance with the space, risk or liability, Kjellin said.
Kjellin said this is the second year students have benefited from SB 155 funding in the state legislature.
?What makes this a great thing for students is they are able to take the CNA class without having to pay tuition,? she said. ?The only thing will be fees, saving them and their families more than $400.?
In addition, school districts have an opportunity to request funds for students able to acquire a license in certain credentialed fields, she said.
?It?s a reward for the schools where a student attends.?
One of the new things BCC is doing is accessing more video conferencing technology, she said.
?This technology will make more courses available to students (outside Marion County) without having to drive to Marion as much.?
The video conferencing program BCC is using is zoom.us, she said. The product is similar to Skype, but Skype is more for video chatting.
?Zoom.us, from my experience has better picture quality and has the ability to record to share on your screen,? she said.
For example, if a teacher is giving a lecture and wants to use PowerPoint, but still talk to students, she could be visible in the picture box, but whatever students are looking at would still be on the screen, Kjellin said.
?It is more interactive and a great tool for businesses to use,? she said.
The program has a lot of applications, including for staff meetings between Marion and Council Grove.
?I have used it to conduct brief interviews with potential teachers quite a lot,? she said.
With most math sections online, the program aids the teacher with students at Peabody-Burns and White City high schools as well as adult students.
?(Students) are not just out there and completely on their own,? she said. ?They can call in and see him or if they have questions, he can help them. These students didn?t have to drive over to Marion, but could call from their own home, sort of like virtual office hours.?
Kjellin said BBC?s strongest presence is in Marion County and with the high schools.
?But, we also want to be able to continue offering classes to people who want to work toward their degree and need night classes,? she said.
It surprises Kjellin when the CNA classes don?t fill up when there?s such a high demand for CNAs in the marketplace. A CMA class will begin Feb. 24 and a CNA course is being offered at the end of May.
?We will be pushing hard to get that class full so we have a good class in filling CNA positions (around the county).?
As for the CNA program, Kjellin said she believes there will always be a need for them. Many programs require students to be CNAs before they even apply to the nursing program, she said.
For many students, the community college is the best option.
Kjellin said it would be exciting to find students who took college credits while in high school or came through the Butler/Marion facility with a CNA and went on.
?So many people wouldn?t be where they are today if they hadn?t started at the community college level,? she said.
A lot of small towns like Marion and Council Grove don?t have the education options that are here, she said. BCC has a website course schedule which lists classes offered in Marion.
Those classes are listed under ?Butler of the Flint Hills? and shows everything.
Those interested in learning more can visit butlercc.edu.
?It really is fortunate that BCC found a way to stay in Marion and offer options,? she said. ?We are here to help people get started and on their way to meeting their educational goals.?