The exterior image of the planned “Table Rock Campus” of Ozarks Technical Community College was unveiled this week in Branson.
The campus, expected to open for classes in the fall of 2013, will be built in Hollister on Missouri 165 just southwest of College of the Ozarks. The three-story building will be clearly visible from U.S. 65 and will have a view of Table Rock Lake and dam.
OTC President Dr. Hal Higdon addressed a group of around 100 attending the “leadership reception” held at the Payne Stewart Country Club.
“This campus will be transformational for the entire area,” Higdon said. “And I don’t mean just Hollister; places like Branson, Forsyth, Ava, and more will all benefit from this campus.”
Referring to a bond issue which passed last spring where local taxpayers in the Hollister School District overwhelmingly agreed to a tax-rate increase to help bring the college to the area, Higdon said “Hollister has taken a bold step forward. Education and training is what we provide. We’ll be your best friend for economic development.”
Site work on the 9.8 acres the college bought in Hollister should begin by this fall while groundbreaking is expected to take place in the spring of 2012. The college president said the campus will be ready to accept students for the fall semester starting in August, 2013
The three-story building will house offices and classrooms on the first two floors with the upper floor to be held for future expansion. The college hopes to eventually acquire more land and build even more buildings on the campus as the need arises for expansion.
That expected growth is very likely, Higdon said.
“We have 500 students in the area now,” that attend classes in rented space at Branson Meadows shopping center, he said. “We expect to draw many more than that to our Table Rock Campus.”
According to information from the college, OTC is the fastest-growing college in the state. It has grown to more than 14,000 students since its founding in 1991. OTC recently contracted for an independent economic impact study that placed the college’s effect on the southwest Missouri area at $211 million per year.
“We’re getting calls where people are already wanting to know when they can move here to go to class at OTC,” Higdon said. “We’re going to have a first-class facility here.”
Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley introduced Higdon at the event. Presley serves in the OTC foundation.
Having OTC building the campus here will truly be “transformational,” she said. “Year-round jobs, jobs with benefits, all of that and more will improve here thanks in part to OTC” building the campus.
“I really want to commend and give special thanks to the Hollister School Board for their vision,” she said. “We have some great school districts in our area.”