After tailoring its course offerings to meet community needs – with a focus on early childhood education – Pueblo Community College Southwest has officially opened its new campus at Durango High School.
The community college has a separate entrance and is sectioned off from the high school, and work is underway on separate bathrooms for PCC, which located its classrooms in what was empty space in the west wing of the high school.
“The whole idea is to enhance student success and to narrow the achievement gap,” said PCC President Patty Erjavec.
She said the location of the new campus, facing the tennis courts, offers DHS students without a car an opportunity to take a college-level class.
With adjacent campuses, Erjavec said students who had not thought of college as an option could “test the waters.”
“Students can learn the rigors of higher education, and before you know it, they are ready for college,” she said.
Besides offering an associate of arts in early childhood education, the campus offers associate of arts in sociology and an associate of science in biology. It also offers core courses in social sciences, education and some humanities.
And, the community college offers an online associate of arts in business.
The school plans to add associate of arts degrees in psychology and in education.
The campus has technological hookups to link the campus to the PCC Southwest’s main campus in Mancos and other PCC campuses across the state.
Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger said PCC worked to align its schedules with DHS so students could more easily fit in a college-level class with their schedules.
Snowberger said the school district and PCC are exploring if they can expand education in the construction trades and welding.
“We want to provide a skilled labor force, and that takes partnerships,” Snowberger said.