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Dare COA report calls for expanded offerings at new campus

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Robert Wynegar

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, June 22, 2018

MANTEO — A task force’s final report on College of The Albemarle’s Dare County campus calls for expanded curriculum offerings in areas ranging from hospitality and the trades to commercial truck driving.

Dare County commissioners plan to move forward next year with construction of a new campus for COA in Manteo. To ensure the new facility offers courses and programs Dare County residents want, commissioners established a Dare County COA Task Force to come up with recommendations.

The task force report, presented to Dare commissioners earlier this week, recommends that the new facility be designed according to a “flex space” concept so that future additions can “easily and affordably be made as curriculum needs change.”

Another recommendation is to incorporate existing facilities for labs and classrooms into the design plan.

COA Trustee Arty Tillett and Dare Campus Dean Tim Sweeney were among the members of the task force, along with Dare Commissioner Danny Couch, Malcolm Fearing and Anne Petera.

COA President Robert Wynegar said Wednesday he will begin discussing with COA faculty and staff the feasibility of curriculum requests in the Dare County COA Task Force report. The discussion likely will go to the COA Board of Trustees sometime next year, he said.

Public safety — courses in law enforcement and fire protection — is one of the curriculum programs requested in the report. Wynegar said hosting public safety programs at the Dare campus won’t be feasible because there already is a plan in the works to relocate those programs to Currituck County. Currituck is building a new public safety facility that will include classroom space for COA public safety programs.

Other requested programs for Dare include early childhood education, aquaculture, agriculture, environmental and natural resources, health sciences, CDL (commercial driver’s licensing), screenprinting and continuing education courses.

Wynegar said aquaculture might work in Dare if there is a company prepared to make an investment in aquaculture operations that would create jobs in the field.

The agriculture curriculum will be housed on the Elizabeth City campus. There is no plan to offer that curriculum in Dare, at least for now, Wynegar said.

The task force also requested expanded offerings in trades and hospitality, and its report calls for the new Dare facility to feature up-to-date technology to accommodate state-of-the-art distance learning options.

Wynegar said the college should have a couple of years to develop the curriculum plans before the new facility is completed.

“It almost takes that long,” he said.

The task force visited COA’s other campuses and heard from Dare businesses and others in the county about what programs they wanted to see.

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