Photo by Amber Marra
The first quarter of classes is coming to an end at Clark College’s Gorge campus located in Bingen. Computer-Aided Drafting and Design classes are one of a few options students can choose from at the new, if only temporary, location at Bingen’s Zepher, as Clark College is continuing to explore options for a permanent location for its Gorge campus.
As of Wednesday, November 26, 2014
As the first quarter wraps up at the Bingen campus of Clark College, its CADD program is taking shape and is set to evolve based on student and community needs.
After closing its Carson campus earlier this year, Clark College moved into the new Zepher building at the Port of Klickitat in Bingen on a one-year lease. The move was funded by a $315,000 grant from the state of Washington for Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CADD) and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes, of which $160,000 was used with additional funding from Clark College itself to increase enrollment in aerospace education at the Bingen campus.
Classes started at the new campus on Sept. 27 and wrap up in the next week. Keith Stansbury, who heads up Clark College’s CADD programs, called it a “soft start” at an open house Clark College held at its new campus on Monday.
With six students in the first CADD class offered, Stansbury said he hopes to gauge further offerings based on what students want and what the Gorge’s technology businesses need.
“Now that we’ve started out we need to establish enrollment and then pick those people’s brains once we get started. Are they here for just this one class? What is it that people need? Are they taking this class to get up to speed with this software? Maybe they have a degree already and just need to get these CADD skills. Are they looking into getting a two-year degree or are they looking to start an engineering degree and need some of these CADD skills,” Stanbury said. “There’s a lot of reasons that a person could be showing up here, so I need to understand what’s the mix so we can try to facilitate the program this community needs.”
Jan Brending, Bingen’s city manager, is one of those students. She said she hopes to use what she has learned in Stansbury’s CADD class after she retires from her current job in a few years to continue working part time.
“Three to five years from now I’m probably going to retire, so I’m looking at augmenting my skill set, so that’s why I’m taking this class,” Brending said.
Stansbury hopes to figure out which of Clark College’s options for an education in CADD is best for the Gorge.
Clark offers a certificate of proficiency as a one-year degree of sorts and an associate of applied science as a two-year degree. There are also three tracks to choose from, including architectural, civil, and mechanical.
Over the next year, CADD classes at Clark College’s Bingen campus include Intermediate AutoCAD, Mechanical Drafting classes, computational design, as well as classes on engineering sketching and visualization and SolidWorks.
“SolidWorks represents a newer generation of software where we focus on virtually modeling things in 3D as opposed to the older versions of CADD software where we were going to produce 2D drawings, so with the new software we model things in 3D so we are able to model the actual design and make fairly effective changes to that design and the drawings are computed from the 3D model. So we don’t draw the drawings anymore, the computer generates them and then the model updates them automatically,” Stansbury said.
But the new Clark College campus in Bingen offers more than CADD classes. It also offers Corporate and Continuing Education classes and three Microsoft Office classes, according to Karin Duncker, Columbia Gorge Educational Program Manager. Students can register for the winter quarter now until the first day of classes, which is Jan. 5, 2015, though Duncker said students should register sooner rather than later.
Though the first fall quarter went swimmingly enough while Clark College shared space owned by Zepher, the lease is still for only one year. When it first situated itself in Bingen, Clark College was starting the process of applying for a grant through the Washington Economic Development Association for additional funding that could be used for a new campus.
Where that permanent location will be is yet to be determined.