Grandview Council learns of future college plans

GRANDVIEW - As more and more students begin attending classes at the Grandview campus of Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC), the more the school is forced to look toward the future and possible expansion efforts.

Debi Klimes, dean of the YVCC Grandview campus, talked to members of the Grandview City Council Monday night about the school's master plan and the role the college would like to play in the community.

Klimes said work on the school's master plan began in February 2002 and was done by a committee of people that included community members Mayor Mike Bren and Barbara Olmstead, as well as members of YVCC's faculty, staff and students.

She explained that when the committee began looking at mapping the future of the Grandview campus, the group took into account several key items. Klimes said the committee looked at maintaining a safe, attractive work environment for faculty and staff members; the campus' overall attractiveness; and using the college's existing facilities before building anything new.

Klimes said the committee's overall goal was to create a campus community in Grandview. A place with a park-like setting that would attract people to the space.

She said over time the college would also like to look at expanding. The first step of the expansion project has already taken place with the purchase of the old Safeway building on the corner of Wine Country Road and Avenue B. When completed, this space will house the viticulture and enology center, as well as the Allied Health Program. Klimes said in the future the college is also interested in expanding its campus north, giving YVCC more space for additional buildings and more parking.

Klimes said funding for the renovation of the old Safeway building is currently coming in the form of donations and fund-raisers. She said donations have already been received from area wineries, grape growers and the wine association. She explained to council members that the college project qualifies for state matching funds, which would mean that for every dollar donated the state will put in a dollar in matching funds.

Along with the additional space, Klimes told council members the school is hoping to form some active partnerships with the community in the way of providing shared use facilities, such as a fine arts space, a joint library and other recreational facilities.

"We want the facility to be open to the community," Klimes said.

She explained that the college's master plan calls for a large central campus area that would feature low maintenance trees and lawn.

"That will help us keep things cool and soften the view," Klimes explained.

The time frame for the college's master plan currently extends out past 2011, with work on the viticulture and enology center and the Allied Health Program facility scheduled to begin sometime between 2005-2007.

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