On February 7th, 2022 the Tillamook Bay Community College Board of Education voted unanimously to put a $14.4 million bond measure on the May ballot to build a new healthcare education building.
The new building will provide capacity for Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC) to add a nursing program, additional healthcare occupations training programs, and provide space to expand and add new degrees and certificates to meet the community’s growing need to train a local workforce. The building will be constructed next to the main campus building on property already owned by the college.
“The board took this action because we believe strongly the college needs to train a local workforce to meet current and future needs for our county,” said Kathy Gervasi, Board Chair for the TBCC Board of Education. “This building will give us added capacity to locally train healthcare professionals for this critical workforce shortage.”
Currently, TBCC is the only community college in Oregon without its own nursing program. Presently, to meet the county’s need for registered nurses, TBCC contracts with Oregon Coast Community College (OCCC). Students take prerequisite courses at TBCC, and then (if accepted by OCCC) enroll and take nursing courses online through remote learning. Students perform some clinical rotations in Tillamook County, but are also required to do rotations in Lincoln County. The travel is a barrier for working students and affects their ability to enroll in the program as well as complete their degree. The proposed new building will allow TBCC to train nursing students without them having to leave the county.
The building will include state-of-the-art simulation labs, high-tech classrooms, office space and a large community space for local businesses and organizations to utilize.
“Investing in workforce training and positioning the college to grow with the needs of the county, will support Tillamook County’s future economic vitality,” Gervasi said. “Providing opportunities for students to train locally for high-skilled jobs and higher wages is for everyone’s best interests.”
The college was recently awarded an $8 million grant from the Oregon State Legislature to construct the new building. The grant must be matched within five years in order for the college to receive the funds. If approved by voters in May, the $14.4 million bond would meet the match and provide additional funds to build and furnish the new building.
The last time TBCC brought a bond before Tillamook County voters was 2007 to construct the main building on Third Street, and improve college facilities at the high schools in north, central, and south Tillamook County.