Community leaders in Lake County, Oregon have come up with an innovative idea to not only make use of the mostly vacant Daly Middle School, but also to provide for the needs of Lake County residents and residents of adjoining counties and states. The plan will provide post-secondary learning opportunities as well as economic development and sustainability tools for the region.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber was so impressed by the idea known as the Innovation and Learning Center (ILC) that he designated it as an Oregon Solutions Project. “Lake County is one of the most isolated communities in the state, often forcing residents to leave the county for the advanced education necessary to secure or retain a job,” Governor Kitzhaber said in a letter announcing the designation. He went on to state that the center “will improve the individual lives and the greater community by offering education that is normally accessible elsewhere, as well as innovative educational programs unique to the region.” The Governor named Lake County School District No. 7 Supt. Sean Gallagher and Klamath Community College President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez as co-conveners for the project.
Beginning this fall, two-year associate degrees as well as a four-year bachelor’s degree will be available through the ILC in Lakeview. The bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Sciences will be available through an agreement with Oregon State University. Meanwhile, Klamath Community College will offer in-person courses at the ILC as well as distance learning opportunities through live, synchronous delivery and online classes. Continuing education opportunities will also be available from KCC.
Dr. Gutierrez is excited for the opportunity to provide educational services to residents in Lake County. “This is a historic agreement,” he said. “We are looking forward to a very long and successful relationship with Lake County and our partners there.”
Supt. Gallagher appeared similarly excited. “The higher education services being offered at the Innovation and Learning Center will exponentially increase those opportunities for our high school students and community members,” Gallagher said. “When workforce retraining and higher education degree programs are brought to a rural, isolated region of Oregon, this becomes an innovative partnership to reach the 40-40-20 goals set by the state.”
An informational public meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 31st in the Memorial Hall at the basement level of the Courthouse at 5:30 p.m. to share enthusiasm and ideas on this project with the public. All are invited to attend, ask questions, and further their understanding of the ongoing ILC project by getting their questions answered directly from the steering committee.
For more information, contact Audrey Henry 541-947-6013 or Katie Kargol 541-947-5461.