Town hall meeting set to address future of Treasure Valley Community College

The public can bring ideas, ask questions and help chart the future of Malheur County’s community college at a town hall meeting March 16.
(The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

The Enterprise

Residents, business leaders and students will gather Thursday to discuss the future of Treasure Valley Community College at a public Town Hall.

The Town Hall, conducted by the Malheur Enterprise, is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Malheur Room at Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario.

The college jazz band will entertain from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and faculty members will have displays about college programs. The faculty union, the Treasure Valley Education Association, will provide light snacks.

The session will open with brief presentations on various aspects of Treasure Valley Community College. The scheduled speakers include:

  • Mark Wettstein, college board chair and a local farmer, talking about the college’s history.
  • Kevin Kimball, college vice president for administrative services, will explain the college’s finances.
  • Christina Trunnell, president of the faculty union, will talk about the academic programs open to students.
  • Michelle McKay, vice president of student services, will discuss trends and makeup of the college’s enrollment.

The bulk of the Town Hall will be focused on hearing comments from the audience about how the college can better serve students, business and industry, and the community.

“This is a prime opportunity for all of us in Malheur County to gather and share visions about where we see this college in the years ahead,” said Les Zaitz, Enterprise publisher and moderator of the event.

“The forum will be a great opportunity for the community to learn about the history of the college – to see the various building stages the college has gone through the last 50 years,” said Wettstein. “I am participating in the forum because TVCC is a great value whether you are pursuing an associates of arts degree or training in several vo-tech fields.”

He urged the public to attend.

“The forum will help each of us identify what we can do individually and collectively to ensure the success of TVCC into the future,” he said.

Cathy Yasuda, executive director of the TVCC Foundation, said the foundation encourages “our alumni, donors, volunteers and friends to participate in the upcoming Town Hall and explore opportunities in which we can collectively build and grow TVCC and our community.  Through your support, you are making an investment in our community and in our future.”

Speaking for the faculty union, Trunnell said the community needs to know it has a say in the college’s future.

Our hope for this meeting is that a bigger conversation will be started this week, that members of our community will reach out and let the stakeholders of the college know exactly what your needs, hopes, and concerns are for TVCC,” she said.

Mark Redmond, superintendent of the Malheur Education Service District, said the Town Hall “is a great opportunity for the public to both hear from TVCC and engage in some positive dialogue regarding TVCC going forward.  I would encourage the community to actively participate in the conversation.”

The business community is sponsoring the Town Hall through the Chambers of Commerce in Ontario, Nyssa, and Vale.

“TVCC is a vital part of the community,” said John Briedenbach, Ontario Chamber CEO. “This Town Hall is a great opportunity for the community to find out all the ways that TVCC serves the area, not only education but also economic development.”

Char Raney-McGinnis, office manager of the Nyssa Chamber, said that organization is encouraging community members to attend, offer suggestions, and ask questions “to gain a better understanding of the importance of TVCC programs and affordable education in Malheur County.”

Gary Schneider, a former TVCC board member, said “the success of the forum will be entirely dependent on whether or not those in college leadership positions will follow through with appropriate actions based on the recommendations presented.”