Our state legislators and Borough Assembly deserve the thanks and support of Kenai Peninsula residents for their foresight in facilitating the exceptional growth of Kenai Peninsula College in recent years. Without their assistance, local secondary education would have been badly set back at the time of both the greatest need and the greatest opportunity.
Starting as a two year community campus, KPC has blossomed into the fourth largest unit of the University of Alaska in recent years, trailing only the major regional campuses of Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau. KPC’s enrollment continues to grow by double digits every year, without a comparable increase in funding and resources.
In addition to its fast growth, Kenai Peninsula College continues to improve the quality of its education. KPC has received national recognition for its job training efforts by the US Department of Education as well as by many major oil companies, who recruit heavily at KPC and who send many personnel to KPC for advanced oil industry training. This has a significant positive impact upon our local economy. Without the strong, united efforts of our local legislators, particularly Speaker Chenault and Senator Wagoner, we would not be looking forward to the 2012 construction of the badly-needed petroleum technology training facility.
KPC student housing, which the Borough Assembly has sought for nearly forty years as a high-priority legislative goal, has finally been approved. Design and engineering should start soon. I believe that on-campus housing will allow KPC to sponsor a variety of summer conferences and institutes similar to the current Kenai River guides academy. That should bring additional revenue into our economy as well as greater educational and cultural opportunities. Again, without the strong and united support of our legislative delegation, this positive addition to our local economy and community would not have occurred.
Finally, I believe that thanks are in order to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly for its reaffirmed commitment to the voter-approved funding of KPC as part of our local education. KPC is often the only means by which local students can afford to get a college education or vocational training.
Although I am a member of the Kenai Peninsula College community advisory board, these are my personal opinions.