Editor’s note: this story originally appeared in Peninsula College’s newspaper The Buccaneer on Nov. 16, 2017. Some details have been added.
The closure of the Sequim campus of Peninsula College, 124 W. Spruce St., is yet another result of Washington state’s consistent declines in enrollment.
“The primary reason was that we just didn’t have sufficient enrollment there to justify keeping the facility open,” said Peninsula College President Luke Robins said.
College staff report the Sequim campus held an open house on Nov. 14, 2012, and officially closed prior to the fall quarter in September 2017.
This is not the first time a drop in enrollment has affected programs at Peninsula College. Last spring, the Associated Student Council scrambled to successfully compose a budget plan for the 2017-2018 school year after they lost about $45,000 in funding.
College staff report last school year that PC had 4,674 students for a total of 2,137 FTEs and that this school year is anticipated to be about the same.
Peninsula College isn’t alone in these cuts and losses. This decline has been suffered statewide, with enrollment drops at two-thirds of the state’s 30 two-year schools.
The bulk of the Sequim branch of Peninsula College inolved Adult Basic Education and English as a Second Language classes; however, other eclectic courses such as fly-fishing and various computer skill, could be found there as well.
College staff said they intend to continue conducting courses in Sequim when it is possible to do so. The common solution, concerning both the main campus and the Sequim one, appears to be targeted recruitment.
Over the next year, PC hopes to develop a long-term plan in Sequim based on demand, Robins said. The college is going to communicate with the Sequim School District as part of its assessment.
Sequim schools have an indirect connection to the adult education offered by Peninsula College, since many of those served are Sequim residents who did not complete their education while in high school.
“We’re going to take some time to really think it through, and do some analysis of what the demand is in the community,” Robins said.
If this does not entail having a permanent facility, he said it could involve short-term renting or entering into a cooperative agreement with the City for the use of space. The City of Sequim has offered the use of space at the Sequim Civic Center, and at their Transit Center, Robins said.
College staff said conversations about the Sequim campus are ongoing and no decisions have been made yet as to how the college will move forward.
The solution to the decline in enrollment at the Port Angeles campus is to advertise the online Associate of Arts degree and the online Bachelor’s degree, according to Deborah Frazier, Vice President of Finance and Administration, following the news of the programs’ drop in funding last spring.
“Our typical student is a 28-year-old single mother of two kids working full time,” Frazier said. “We need to figure out how to find those people, how to get through to them and how to make our programs available to them.”
For more about Peninsula College,1502 E Lauridsen Blvd, Port Angeles, visit www.pencol.edu or call 360-452-9277.
Sequim Gazette reporter Matthew Nash contributed to this report.