The sky is the limit as far as potential for the new Mid-Plains Community College campus in Valentine.
A strong lineup of classes is in place for the fall semester, and officials are already looking ahead to what's next in terms of serving local needs.
"Right now, we have a lot of offerings we are really excited about," said Jennie Nollette, MPCC Valentine Campus coordinator. "Those include numerous academic transfer courses - everything from English and American Government to Business and Psychology."
Human Anatomy and Physiology will be offered for the second year in a row, and a variety of math classes will be provided both on-site and via distance learning.
"We have Chemistry coming in, and General Biology will also be new this year," said Nollette. "The Biology class will be taught by Shevaun Adams, a teacher at Valentine High School and dual credit instructor for MPCC."
The campus will also host a number of classes that are just for fun. Debby Galloway will return to teach "Beginning Quilting" and a new "Portrait Quilt from a Photo" class.
"We also have a photography class set up with Mark Adamson, who has a studio here in Valentine," said Nollette. "The class is called, 'On the Mark Photography of Your Animals.' It would appeal to ranchers needing to take pictures of their cattle to sell them, or even just someone wanting photos of their pets."
Nollette said the influx in course offerings is possible thanks to increased space. The campus opened the doors of its approximately 7,500-square-foot building to the public in March. Prior to that, MPCC served Valentine residents through a storefront along Hall Street.
Demand for additional courses and the limitation of existing space at the storefront to hold multiple classes simultaneously, led to the construction of a larger facility at 715 E. Highway 20. The building features five classrooms, a testing room and a technical shop.
"With the facilities and technology we have now, we can offer so much more to the community than we ever could before," said Nollette. "The opportunities and scheduling capabilities are a lot better - not to mention we can now provide rental space for meetings and conferences."
The goal is to use the technical shop for welding classes.
"Welding is something we looked into a lot, and we felt like it was a great place to start," said Nollette. "Now we're looking for other classes to put in that space as well – whether that's something like Building Construction or Automotive."
She and other MPCC officials have been visiting with business owners to determine what the local needs are in terms of industry skills. The college is also seeking input from the public.
"We love to hear people's thoughts regarding the best use of our campus – especially as course offerings continue to grow," said Nollette. "This really is the community's college, and we want everyone to be able to benefit from it."
Anyone who has suggestions for potential program offerings can contact Nollette at email@example.com, or at (402) 376-8033).