By Dr. Ross Tomlin, TBCC President
May 17 will now have a special place in the history of Tillamook Bay Community College. Thanks to the voters of Tillamook County, we passed the bond measure to construct a new Healthcare Education Building next to the current main campus building. We are all very excited at the college for what this means for TBCC and Tillamook County.
There was an amazing group of Tillamook County citizens that were instrumental in getting this bond passed by voters. They were the Yes for TBCC Committee, and included Chris and Patsy Weber as the chairs, Marilyn Phegley as the Treasurer, Nikki Brown, Eric Swanson, Gail Nelson, Doug Olson, Jeanette Hagerty, Michelle Jenck, TBCC Board of Education members Mary Jones, Betsy McMahon, and Kathy Gervasi, and TBCC Foundation Board Member Pat Papineau. They all put in an enormous amount of time over the past several months to get the word out about the bond and how it would help the college to train healthcare workers for excellent paying jobs in Tillamook County. This accomplishment could not have been possible without their dedication and hard work. We also received endorsements from all the healthcare providers and other organizations from throughout the county.
As a recap of how we got here: TBCC received $8M from the Oregon State Legislature this past summer to help construct a new Healthcare Education Building that will also include a large community event space. The voter approved bond will cover the remaining $14.4M needed to construct the $22.4M facility. This new building will include state-of-the-art healthcare labs for nursing, medical assisting, EMS and paramedic, phlebotomy, as well as additional classroom space for other programs and much needed office space, and a 360-seat community event center. The event center will be available for community groups and organizations in Tillamook County to use for meetings, events, and conferences, as well as for the college to use for classes and our graduation ceremony.
The other exciting outcome from this election is that the college will now move forward to fully develop our own nursing program. We are the only community college in Oregon that does not have a nursing program. Currently, our students have had to attend Oregon Coast Community College in Newport to receive their nursing degree. Now we begin the hard work of developing our own program to be approved by the State Board of Nursing and begin offering classes in fall 2023. The new building will be the home of this program and will contain a complete training lab for students to gain the skills they need to become Registered Nurses.
The next steps for TBCC will be to sell the bonds so we can hire an architecture firm to start designing the building. This process can hopefully happen over the coming 12-18 months, after which construction can begin. The entire process should take between 3-4 years. We can then move into a beautiful new facility to meet our educational, office, and community event needs for many years to come.
Again, we are very grateful to voters for helping to approve this critical project that will help TBCC to reach an even higher level of service to citizens of Tillamook County over the coming decades.