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Bow Valley College brings a down-home experience to education as it builds to the future in southern Alberta.
It provides quality education at its quaint 1,500 square-foot Okotoks campus.
“I know right now if an opportunity presented itself we would absolutely love to be in a larger space but that being said I want to make sure the quality is there,” said Samantha Schellenberg, Bow Valley College manager, regional lead (Foothills). “With Okotoks set to grow, I think it’s something that our executive is paying attention to.”
There is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Okotoks town council announced early in 2019 it is exploring building a downtown arts and campus along the scenic Sheep River.
The initial proposal has Bow Valley College, the Okotoks Public Library and a performing arts centre sharing an area and possibly all under one roof.
It’s opportunity for students to study in a small-town atmosphere, with all the amenities of the Big City.
It’s Okotoks’ goal to keep the campus downtown.
“All of the options were taking them out of your Okotoks downtown,” Okotoks CAO Elaine Vincent told town council in January. “When we looked at those options we dreamed a little bit. And dreamed about the opportunity of being able to create a downtown learning and art campus.”
It’s a dream Schellenberg shares.
“Bow Valley College is growing and the Okotoks Arts and Learning Campus provides an opportunity for us to continue serving the Foothills region,” she said. “The college has reached capacity in its current location and is very supportive of the efforts of the Town of Okotoks to explore ideal leasing opportunities so we can expand our high-quality post-secondary programming.”
It already has plenty of programs in Okotoks, including health care aide, hospital unit clerk, medical office assistant and others.
With potential growth in the future, the sky is the limit for students.
In fact, a U of C astrophysics student was able to start his post-secondary career while being home-schooled in high school, thanks to Bow Valley College.
Christian Keenan earned post-secondary credits while being home-schooled with Christ the Redeemer Catholic School’s Centre for Learning@Home.
The dual credit program, which is run through Bow Valley College, allows students to take courses which not only go towards their high school diploma, but also credit for post-secondary education.
Keenan successfully completed four dual credit courses, to earn the 20 credits for high school.
“It had its challenges,” Keenan admitted. “The law one was probably the most difficult, but as long as you applied yourself and did your school work, it was okay.”
Taking the dual courses helped Keenan in high school and to prepare for the rigours of university.
“The way the dual-credit courses were setup they were a lot more self-paced,” said Keenan, who was a 90 per cent plus student in high school. “That helped me with my high-school learning with planning and getting my work done effectively and efficiently, rather than just when it is due.”
It’s a good fit for Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools and the Foothills Schools Division, which also participates.
“We thought this was an excellent opportunity to enhance student opportunities at the high school level,” said Hans Woehleke, with the Centre for Learning@Home. “It is great for our school — we are a school of choice and anyone can contact us to enrol in the program.”
For information about Bow Valley College go to bowvalleycollege.ca. For information about the Okotoks campus go to bowvalleycollege.ca/schools/regional-stewardship/campuses/Okotoks