EATON — Citing declining enrollment numbers for “face to face” classes, and more opportunities for online education, Sinclair Community College plans on closing its Preble County campus after classes conclude on Friday, May 4.
The decision was announced to students last week via a letter from Scott Markland, Vice President of Enrollment Management.
The letter reads:
“Over the last few years, Sinclair has experienced a steady decline in interest for face-to-face classes at the Preble County Learning Center (PCLC) in Eaton. At the same time, participation in on-line courses and programs has steadily grown among residents of the Preble and Darke County area.
“The Sinclair Board of Trustees has tasked the leadership of the college to evaluate our regional operations and make decisions for long-term sustainability. We have decided, after long and careful consideration, to cease offering face-to-face classes at the Preble County Learning Center in Eaton effective May 4, 2018.
“However, this is not a cessation of service for this region. In fact, the college will continue to support students in Preble, Darke and surrounding counties through new student enrollment, high school outreach, College Credit Plus, and Tech Prep programs. Also, all Sinclair sites, as well as the nearby Englewood Regional Center are prepared to continue to serve regional students in need of completing all steps of enrollment, distance learning services and course offerings.
“Timeline for the Preble County Learning Center Transition: Courses for spring semester will continue through spring semester ending May 4. PCLC staff will continue to offer enrollment and support services throughout the summer 2018. Students affected by this transition may be eligible for a special transition scholarship. (Please see your Academic Advisor.) On-site operations will end on Aug. 30, 2018. After Aug. 30, 2018, support for Preble, Darke and other areas will transition to other Sinclair locations including the Englewood Learning Center.”
“I was actually shocked. We didn’t really know it was happening. I found out on Facebook, but I wasn’t super surprised. We knew the enrollment was dropping,” Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech said.
“Colleges aren’t being utilized as much. It wasn’t a big shock, but I was still shocked to say the least,” Creech added. “We want to see people get into skilled trades and support our local trades.”
“I’m so disappointed. A lot of people depended on that easy commute for some of their classes. It’s extremely disappointing. I don’t know what’s going to go in there. I don’t know what’s going to fill that void,” Preble County Commissioner Denise Robertson said. “I was not expecting it at all. I don’t know who they discuss those kinds of things with.
”I hope they at least talked to the local schools,” Robertson added. “I hope they at least talked to them about that void that is going to be there. I don’t know who was in on the discussions. It means that our students who go to Sinclair are going to have to drive to Dayton so that’s going to be an inconvenience to them.”
I’m sure something else will come in that’s just as good,” Robertson said. “There may be other colleges who see that as an opening and come in and offer their services.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.