BMCC Shares Good News with Hispanic Committee

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HAC 7-20-15
BMCC President Cam Preus gives the Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee an update on the college's construction plans during Monday's meeting.

In May, Umatilla and Morrow county voters approved a bond measure that will pay for two new Blue Mountain Community College learning centers and the renovation of a third.

In a few short weeks, the sale of the bonds will result in $23 million going directly into the BMCC bank account that will allow construction on the three centers to begin. On Monday, BMCC President Cam Preus thanked the Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee for its support of the measure this past spring.

Preus gave the committee a quick update on construction plans.

“We’re going to start west and work our way east,” she said. Plans call for work to begin first on the Workforce Training & Early Childhood Education Training cCenter on Port of Morrow property behind the SAGE Center in Boardman. Preus said the center should be ready to open in the fall of 2016.

Next on the construction schedule will be the Precision Irrigated Agriculture Center on Oregon State University Experiment Station property in Hermiston. That is expected to open in the winter of 2017.

Finally, the college will renovate its Agriculture Center on the Pendleton campus. That center should be ready by the fall of 2017.

Preus also updated the HAC on a major federal grant the college received last week.

BMCC was notified that it is the recipient of a $231,600 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund its TRiO Student Success Program for another five years.

The program is dedicated to increasing the retention, graduation, and transfer rate of students with a demonstrated financial need, who are first generation college students, or who are students with disabilities.

Last year, BMCC served 165 low-income and first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities through the TRiO program. Success Coaches at BMCC help students navigate their educational journeys by providing developmental, proactive advising. The TRiO program serves a high-need population that faces multiple obstacles to persistence, retention, and the achievement of the level of academic sufficiency required to obtain an associate’s degree and transfer to a four-year institution.

“It’s really fabulous,” Preus told the committee.

HAC Chairman Eddie de la Cruz, who is also a BMCC board member, told Preus he was appreciative of the college’s efforts to work with under-served student populations.

“I’m very proud of Cam for her efforts to reach out to the entire community,” he said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Maria Durón of Umatilla Electric Cooperative, informed the committee that UEC has opened a payment kiosk outside its Hermiston headquarters.

“This will allow people to make payments 24/7,” she said. The kiosk takes cash, checks, credit and debit cards. Durón said the kiosk cannot make change, but if someone paid a $24 payment with a $50 bill, the remaining $26 will be credited to their account. The kiosk also accepts payments for Hermiston Energy Services customers.