BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The president of Southeastern Community College told a group of Fort Madison business and economic development leaders today that the community college could be making an announcement on a facility in the area in the coming months.
Dr. Michael Ash addressed local officials Wednesday morning at Fort Madison Community Hospital saying the college has located some potential property that it has interest in.
“We’ve found a location for something related to Fort Madison,” Ash said. “We’re working with a piece of property now and I’m going to be making a presentation to the (SCC) board and we hope to have an announcement for you in a month or so.”
Ash, who’s been with the SCC for about seven years said this has been a project he’s been wanting to see through.
“I know you hear a lot about the West Burlington and Keokuk campuses, but we are still interested in Fort Madison. I want to reassure you we’ve been working diligently and we’ve spent lots of time on this.”
The college has been looking at possible facilities in and around Fort Madison for years. The last location was in the 1600 block of Avenue F. Ash said the building did well at the outset with good enrollment but it tapered off quickly.
He said enrollment usually dips with unemployment rates because people gravitate to the jobs from the classrooms. But he said the college is bucking that trend now.
“Our enrollment is growing, even with the area having some of the lowest unemployment rates in years,” Ash said.
He said the college may have access to some Emergency Training Center funding to help defray the costs, however he didn’t go into much detail about where the facility would be or what programming it might entail. He did say that local education officials would be involved in determining what courses and classes would be offered.
Ash said he was also making a trip soon to Washington D.C. for some funding assistance as well.