It is hard to believe that this coming January, TBCC will be 10 years in our main campus building on Third Street. After being located in the Mortuary building for nearly 25 years, this building felt huge, and it was hard to imagine ever outgrowing it.
Since then, TBCC added a second building two years ago located across the street from the main campus. The Partners in Rural Innovation Building houses the Oregon State University Extension, Visit Tillamook Coast, Tillamook County Economic Development Council, and the TBCC Small Business Development Center.
There is a dedicated classroom for Agriculture/Natural Resources/Forestry programs and a computer lab for use by TBCC’s Small Business Development Center, but much of the space is used by our partners.
TBCC has been growing the last two years. We are continuing to develop new classes and programs to help our students find excellent career opportunities locally or transfer successfully to a four-year university to complete a bachelor degree. With new programs being added each year, we hope to continue serving the community in this growth pattern. However, we are now starting to feel the pinch in our facility’s capacity.
We actually have no classrooms available in the evening to add more classes. All the classrooms in the evening are being used every term. We are also running out of office space. As we add programs we need to add people to run those programs. We also need staff who can help support students to be successful while they are here. So looking down the line a few years, there is a real need to consider a third building for the college.
The process for getting a new building is a long one. We are starting now by developing a new Facilities Master Plan, which looks ahead 20 years at the needs of the community and the college. The first step was to obtain feedback and ideas from the community about how they see the college satisfying higher education needs into the future.
We held open public forums over the past several months and talked to many different people and groups throughout the county to gather as many perspectives and ideas as possible. We now have the final report with the community engagement data and will be analyzing that over the coming month and will then be sharing the results with the community on what ideas were shared and our decisions on the focus for the new building.
The next step will be to hire an architect to help us put the Facilities Master Plan together from all of the feedback, along with producing some renderings of what the facility might look like and what it will cost. Next, we have to send a report to the state detailing our request, which then goes to the Legislature in the 2021 session where we will be asking for matching funds for the new building.
If that is approved in 2021, the college will then start working on obtaining the other half of the funds through fundraising, a bond election, grants, or a combination of all of those options. If all goes well, we would be ready to begin building a new facility by 2022-23. So a mere five years from now, we could be going into a new building. A long process, but one that needs to start now.
We are excited about our continued growth and potential in Tillamook County, and are looking forward to having continued conversations with people throughout Tillamook County about how TBCC can best serve our higher education needs into the future. There will be more opportunities for us to all engage in the process.