Fri, Feb. 21

Yavapai College to lease old Camp Verde elementary school

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

The former Camp Verde Elementary gets new life through a lease with Yavapai College.

Interim Camp Verde Superintendent Steve Marshall shared with school board members Tuesday night the proposed conditions of a rental agreement between the two parties that could go into effect next month. The college is expected to take over three side-by-side classrooms once the lease is signed.

A large portion of the old grade school was torn down when the new elementary school was opened on Camp Lincoln Road. Soccer and softball fields replaced much of the space, but five classrooms, a large room used for wrestling and a gym remain. The school district has plans to move the school's computer department and curriculum department into the remaining two classrooms after the college takes over the other three.

Marshall has been working with college official Jim Gillespie, assistant director for the college's facility management on the proposal. Following the school board's approval of the contract June 11, Gillespie said that the information now goes back to the dean of instruction who is expected to put the formal lease together.

Increasing the college's presence Camp Verde sprung to life last summer. Currently a minimal curriculum is offered in two classrooms at the town hall complex leased on a gratis basis. Last year, several area leaders, school officials and college personnel formed a working coalition to find out the post high school needs of the community led by Councilman Tony Gioia.

Other supporters included Camp Verde Town Manager John Roberts, Marshal Whitmire, Paul Kessel, Yavapai College executive dean of student and academic affairs, Dr. Angela Fairchilds, dean of instruction, John Quinley, director of institutional research, Pearl Lansing, board director for the Valley Academy Career and Technical Education District, Cheri Wischmeyer, Cliff Castle Casino's human resources' director and Chamber Director Lori Martinez.

At one meeting, Kessel, as executive dean, told the group that part of his five performance objectives was to establish localized educational facilities in the Verde Valley and to provide a Yavapai College presence throughout the county.

Dr. Fairchilds discussed the possibility of an enhanced curriculum this week saying that although they have some ideas, there is nothing firm yet. She said they've offered different types of classes in the past in Camp Verde, but often had to cancel due to lack of interest.

"We've been working with school and town officials to determine specific needs," she went on to explain. "We hopefully will expand some offerings and attract more enrollment. Part of the problem in the past is getting the right mix. We want to work closely to get the right combination."

She estimates programming decisions will be made this fall. She says she expects some agri-business classes like hydroponics and equine studies and general education classes. She said they've been talking with high school officials about the possibility of offering classes to advanced upper high school students who might be able to receive dual credits.

Yavapai College officials, she said, are in "discussions with NAU to share the facility to some extent." They are hopeful to offer some joint programming that could include upper division courses and possibly a master's degree program. She suggested the strong likelihood of teacher education classes for students preparing to become teachers and for teachers seeking continuing education credits.

Fairchilds confirmed that the computer lab at the town center will be moved to the new school facility. She said the three new classrooms at the old elementary school will contain one large lecture classroom, a computer lab and the third room divided into offices and a small conference room. She said that although the space is limited she anticipates with the right type of scheduling the college's ability to offer a nice selection of classes the community would use.

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