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BCC seeks more industrial opportunities
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Barton Community College staff hope to offer a certificate in natural gas measurement in the near future, college trustees learned Thursday. Mike Baugh, coordinator/instructor of Barton’s Natural Gas Transmission and Distribution program, said the industry has identified a need for this advanced certificate, and they already have a curriculum approved. Pending final approval by the Kansas Board of Regents, Barton hopes to offer the course this fall, or no later than next spring.

Baugh, along with Dean of Workforce Training and Community Education Elaine Simmons, spoke at the board’s monthly study session. No board action was required. They said Gov. Mark Parkinson and the Kansas Legislature paved the way for this program with passage of the Renewable Energy Standards Act in 2009. This creates significant training opportunities in the utility industry.

Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman called this "a very exciting opportunity." A grant from the State Energy Sector Partnership will help with funding.

In other business Thursday, the board heard a financial report from Dean of Administration Mark Dean, who said revenue and expenses are both up this year. State aid has been cut by $603,000, but the college has more than made up the difference through tuition and fees. "Last year we had very good growth," Dean said. "I’d like to have last year again."

Heilman said enrollment continues to grow, which brings in more money while it helps the college maintain its share of state funding. Online enrollment growth will be "in double digits," he predicted. More enrollment does mean more instruction costs, so the budget will also need to grow by 2-5 percent, he added.

Two new board members will be coming on in July, and the trustees discussed orientation. They also discussed contract renewals for faculty and for head coaches, which will probably be on the May agenda.