College opens its doors |

College opens its doors

Steve Ranson
Automotice instructor Randy Sharp said his program keeps increasing in size at WNC.

Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus opened its doors to the public Friday to showcase some of its programs and for guests to see some of the improvements made during the past year.

WNC Fallon Director Sherry Black said the open house allowed the community to see the recent renovations, learn more about the programs the college offers and meet some of the instructors.

“This college is so important to this community,” Black said. “We have fabulous instructors with great programs and opportunities for students to get their courses at almost half the price if they attended a university.”

Black, though, said she is proud of the improvements made to the library and the study areas that encourage collaborative learning.

Rob Belbin, library services specialist, said the library has a larger online collection and many of the books that hadn’t been used in years were removed, thus giving the facility more room.

“We’re making better use of space,” Belbin said.

He said the library has 13 computers to meet many students’ needs although other students bring their laptops.

“We are certainly meeting the needs of students with the number of computers we have right now,” he added.

Belbin said the color scheme, which is brighter and more inviting, and the reduced height of the bookshelves are more conducive to student learning

Belbin said the skill center has now been turned into a student center where student tutors, for example, can work in group situations.

As she walked around the campus looking at the changes, Rachel Dahl, executive director of the Churchill Executive Development Authority, said the campus is modern and beautiful.

“We have to be able to offer training to entice students to come here, and this college is more than willing, at the drop of the hat, to put together a training program. We worked with them to put together an IT program for employers, and they have been completely responsive.”

Dahl said having Getto Hall renovated is like offering a showpiece for what WNC can do for the community.

Many guests who strolled through the three WNC buildings made a stop at the welding and automotive displays.

Scott McNabb explained how the welding program has expanded.

“Four semesters ago, the program accelerated where students can obtain 18 credits in one semesters in welding,” he said.

He said many students obtain certification from the American Welding Society and also receive OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) training in class.

According to McNabb, there are many welding jobs in the community.

“It’s a good field,” he added.

The automotive classes have also received an influx of students.

“We are seeing more and more traffic, more classes are being offered,” said instructor Randy Sharp. “I have seen my classes increase.”

He said students begin with the basics and then move up to the more advanced classes that teach such component as brake systems, engine performance and suspension systems.

Sharp said because of the cost of new vehicles or the cost to repair, more people are learning how to fix their own vehicles.

“People are trying to keep their cars longer by repairing them,” he said.

WNC President Chet Burton attended the open house with his wife, Amy, a former Churchill County High School English teacher.

“It is very much the whole atmosphere from the students coming in, not just the time they spend in the classroom but the whole learning environment,” Burton said.

He said WNC is making an investment and moving forward to provide more opportunities for the students.

“At the end of the day, they are in an environment they want to spend time in,” Burton added.