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3/20/2014 4:06:00 PM
Camp Verde Council hears pros, cons of Yavapai College master plan
“The key point is that we want the same thing,” Yavapai College Governing Board spokesman Herald Harrington told the Camp Verde Town Council Wednesday. He represents the board's District 2. VVN/Bill Helm
“The key point is that we want the same thing,” Yavapai College Governing Board spokesman Herald Harrington told the Camp Verde Town Council Wednesday. He represents the board's District 2. VVN/Bill Helm
Seeking a greater collegiate presence in the Verde Valley, former Yavapai College board member Robert Oliphant and retired educator Ruth Wicks (above) talk to the Camp Verde Town Council during Wednesday’s regular session.  VVN/Bill Helm
Seeking a greater collegiate presence in the Verde Valley, former Yavapai College board member Robert Oliphant and retired educator Ruth Wicks (above) talk to the Camp Verde Town Council during Wednesday’s regular session. VVN/Bill Helm

Bill Helm
Staff Reporter


CAMP VERDE - Former Yavapai College board member Robert Oliphant and retired educator Ruth Wicks believe that Yavapai College's 10-year Master Plan will shortchange the Verde Valley.

And that is what they told the Camp Verde Town Council during Wednesday's regular session.

Desiring a community college system modeled after the Maricopa County Community College District, Oliphant and Wicks shared parts of the college's master plan to the council, and suggested a community college district in Yavapai County, with a Verde Valley community college that is separate but equal to Yavapai College.

"From my viewpoint," said council member Jessie Jones, "over on this side was always considered the red-headed stepchild. I think it's important to make the investment in our community."

Oliphant said, "We're going to approach [Yavapai] College, asking how we can have an independent administrative body, like they do in Maricopa County."

Added Wicks, "We want what [the Prescott area has]. And we have the money that they have. We want Prescott to be thriving. But we don't want Prescott telling us how to run our programs."

Community colleges require access, Oliphant told the council. "Local access and local control."

In January, Oliphant resigned from the board, the only member to vote against giving preliminary approval to a new campus master plan that allocates nearly all of a projected $103.8 million to the Prescott area.

"There is no debate that 97 percent of expenditures are going to the Prescott and Prescott Valley side of the county," Oliphant said. "I consider that unfair, simply unfair. There was no way I could work with this. We have to address vocational training over here, so our folks can have access to the training."

Vice Mayor Jackie Baker said that Oliphant and Wicks presented "some wonderful ideas" to be explored.

"We here in the Verde Valley have economic development issues, transportation issues," Baker said. "It's really clear. What I've heard so far, I'd really be supportive. We don't have to reinvent the wheel to do it."

Of the approximately $100 million to be spent in the Prescott area, $45 million will be used for a new Allied Nursing program in Prescott Valley. According to Yavapai College Governing Board spokesman Herald Harrington, only a portion of the nursing program's coursework in the Verde Valley would be moved to the new campus.

"You can be very efficient, but if your customers can't get access to what you're offering, it doesn't matter how efficient you are," Harrington said. "We want the same thing. We want to educate everyone we can get our hands on."



-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014
Article comment by: Wacka Wacka

The plan ..

Prescott gets it all...
Verde Valley gets bupkis


Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014
Article comment by: Bill Lumberg

Maricopa county population = 4,000,000
Yavapai county population = 212,000

That model works for therm because the size. Each Maricopa college serves a population more than double the size of our whole county.

The Verde/Sedona area simply doesn't have the population to support its own college financially, not to mention not enough students to need it.

The offerings that we have now and will have under the 10 year plan are far more than we could ever hope for on our own. All splitting the college will do is take money out of the classroom and away from students because now we would have to double up on administration, HR, Facilities, IT and all the other support structures needed to run a college.

The verde campus is great and it's not going anywhere. The leaders of this movement are throwing around a lot of hyperbole, but little fact. And they are doing it for self motivated reasons.

Read the plan for yourself. We will continue to have wonderful post-secondary education on our side of the mountain for the next decade.


Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014
Article comment by: Say No to Maricopa Model

Tell them we don't want to model anything after Maricopa County! They want "separate but equal"? Didn't that work out poorly back in the civil rights era? Maybe Wicks and Oliphant and German could just move to Maricopa and "educate" the city folk.



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