The Kaskaskia College Trenton Education Center is undergoing exciting changes during the fall semester, and is still focused on providing its services to students in the Western Clinton County area.
The Trenton Education Center is currently undergoing a much needed expansion at its location on Old Highway 50 in Trenton. A groundbreaking ceremony was held this Spring, and construction began at the end of the Spring semester. When it reopens in the Spring of 2014, the Center will have been transformed from 3,800 square feet of space to nearly 16,000 square feet, enough to allow for a markedly large increase in the classes ad degrees offered as well as the services it provides to the students and community.
During construction, the Trenton Center offices have been relocated to 9 West Broadway in Trenton (across from City Hall), and its classes will take place in other locations including Wesclin and Breese Central High Schools, Westgate Baptist Church, the Trenton Public Library and more.
Built based upon Kaskaskia College’s philosophy of “bringing education to the times and places convenient to the learner,” the Center was part of an experiment to determine if Kaskaskia College’s services would be utilized away from the main campus. In Western Clinton County, as well as in the other Education Center locations, the experiment was a resounding success. Demand was so strong for the educational and community services offered by the Center that they quickly outgrew their current space. This is the impetus for the exponential expansion currently underway.
The Trenton Education Center offers services to the community beyond education. Its open computer lab, free to use by students and citizens alike, is a popular amenity that helps to strengthen the relations between the College and the community.
In the expansion, several start-up businesses will call the Center home, under the Small Business Incubator Program, which allows for some area startups to lease offices at the Education Centers for a period of up to three years, while the staff at the Center make themselves available for questions and are eager to help in any way they can.
Along with the expansion of the Trenton Center and the services it offers to the community, recent changes have allowed for an expansion of the Center’s educational opportunities for students. Under an agreement signed earlier this year, Kaskaskia College is now able to offer full degree programs at each of its Education Centers; where before only half of the credit hours needed for a degree could be earned off campus. With the advent of online classes, in which students need only computer and internet access to attend classes, and distance learning classes through the College’s network of distance learning classrooms, Trenton, as well as other Education Centers, can now offer much more programming than what was available when every class meant a rigid schedule of face-to-face class meetings.
The Center plays host to a number of College Advisory Board and Community Engagement meetings, in which suggestions for new programming to fill needs in the area are solicited. The College works to act quickly on these suggestions. As a result, the new Trenton Center will house large classroom spaces that can be opened up to accommodate group meetings, science and computer laboratories, and an industrial laboratory space for occupational programs like Residential and Commercial Wiring and Welding.
Utilizing its distance learning classroom, the Trenton Center will make available classes that are taught at any of the campuses or other extension centers. This is not only convenient for the students who would otherwise have to travel to attend a class; it allows for a few students from several different locations to use the technology to make a class viable.
The Trenton Center is also part of the initiative called Weekend College, in which students who work full time can take classes that meet on Friday evenings and Saturdays and Sundays, breaking the mold of classes that are held mornings and afternoons through the week. This allows students with inflexible schedules to also attend classes at KC.
Another service offered at the Trenton Center is Community Education classes. These credit and non-credit classes cover topics of interest from getting the most use from an iPad or iPhone, to basic and intermediate computer classes, to hobbies such as genealogy to social networking and scrapbooking. As a service to the senior citizens of the area, these classes are offered for free or a reduced amount to persons 60 years of age or over.
The Trenton Education Center is a growing, vibrant part of Kaskaskia College’s educational network, and the staff looks forward to serving the educational and community needs of the Western Clinton County area, even during the expansion.
For more information on the Trenton Center, please call the Center at 618-545.3475 or 224-2666 or email the Director, Arlene Covington, at email@example.com