State

Columbia College moves on satellite site in Calaveras County

ANGELS CAMP -- Calaveras County residents are closer to getting a satellite site for Columbia College classes and services.

Officials finished a deal this week with the Calaveras County Office of Education to buy six acres in north Angels Camp, concluding a decade of talks between the two sides. The land cost $615,000 and will come out of Measure E funds, which are school bonds for construction proj- ects at Columbia College and Modesto Junior College.

Columbia College offers a few courses at an Angels Camp shopping center, but a satellite site will allow for more courses and services for community college students.

The site is 17 miles from Columbia College.

"I'm really glad that we're beginning. The people deserve it," Pat Dean, the Yosemite Community College District trustee who represents the foothills, said in a statement. The YCCD is the parent district of Columbia and MJC.

"It was 2003-04 when we first looked into Calaveras as an expansion site," Dean continued. "It's been a long time coming to this point. There are many of our young people who will be able to take advantage of Columbia College's Calaveras facilities."

Calaveras County residents make up about 20 percent of the enrollment at Columbia College. In fall 2008, more than 600 full- and part-time Columbia College students lived in Murphys, San Andreas, Angels Camp, Copperopolis, Arnold, Valley Springs and Altaville.

The next step is forming a committee at Columbia College to choose an architect and design the site. Officials will offer classes at the Angels Camp shopping center until construction is finished, which could take a few years. Officials have set aside $7.5 million in Measure E funding to develop a Calaveras County center. The site will not be a full-fledged campus.

With Measure E funding, efforts also are under way to establish satellite sites in Turlock and Oakdale. Earlier this year, officials accepted 10 acres of donated land in Patterson for a satellite site for MJC. The campus could open in summer or fall of next year.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at mhatfield@modbee.com or 578-2339.

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