In a very short time the idea of LCRI providing education to other communities on how to use renewable energy as an economic development strategy and providing teachers with continuing education opportunities in forest ecology has grown to a vision of having an accredited higher education institution at the Daily Middle School. Lake County Cooperative Extension advisor Pete Schrader and School District Superintendent Sean GallagherÂ on February 29, 2012 called together representatives from Lake County School District #7, Paisley School District, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Treasure Valley Community College, South Central Oregon Economic Development District, LCRI, Lake County Chamber and the Town of Lakeview to discuss the idea of an innovation and learning center. In just a short time School District #7, Lake County Commissioners and Klamath Community College (KCC)Â signed an MOU for KCC to serve Lake County. KCC is also working on an agreement with Oregon State University (OSU) to offer a 4-year degree in agriculture at KCC both in Klamath Falls and Lakeview. This committee believes that the Western Regional Innovation & Learning Center can accomplish the following:
- Provide additional dual-credit opportunities for secondary students;
- Provide college level course access for all age groups;
- Meet the educational needs of the communities and region at-large;
- Provide educational opportunities for natural resources development;
- Provide continuing educational opportunities for all professionals;
- Provide video-conferencing access for meetings and remote access courses;
- Provide facilities for community events and workforce training;
- Develop future leaders and community vitality as a whole.
Collaboration between local public K-12 school districts, multiple higher education institutions and local major employers will help to generate educational opportunities that meet the needs of the community and region at-large. Educational opportunities can be incorporated into job opportunities that strengthen regional economics and help provide job creation.
It is also envisioned that the Paisley School District #11 which has a dormitory would allow the Center to offer teachers and foresters continuing education in forest ecology and forest monitoring. The dormitory is used to house foreign students attending high school in Paisley and is vacant during the summer months. Lake County Resources Initiative (LCRI) runs a local forest monitoring crew during the summer and would offer continuing education with in the field experience.
This project could become a model for Governor Kitzhaber’s 40-40-20 plan for Oregon education. On March 12, 2013 Governor Kitzhaber made this project an Oregon’s Solution project (see Publications for the Governor’s letter). Also in Publications on this website is a copy of what has been accomplished to-date and main talking points about the center.