The Next Chapter of Regional Service Takes Shape

Local leaders participate in the groundbreaking

Kirkwood’s Washington County Regional Center officially breaks ground

Dozens of supportive community members and administrators turned out yesterday for a chance to turn the sod at one of Kirkwood’s newest facilities. The Washington County Regional Center broke ground amid heartfelt comments and applause as those in attendance acknowledged the innovative educational solution for a growing community.

The new center forges a unique partnership among local school districts, Kirkwood and regional business owners and industry to create a one-of-a-kind model for collaborative education. “Kirkwood’s new regional center will make education more accessible to everyone, from high school students through to adults,” said Tera Pickens, director of the Washington County Regional Center. “Kirkwood’s industry partners provided thoughtful input for the classes at this location. With their help, our training programs will directly feed the specific employment needs of this region.”

The Washington County Regional Center will offer college credit classes and certifications to high school students; traditional college classes, both liberal arts and technical programming; Kirkwood Continuing Education classes and training programs; GED and adult high school completion; English as a Second Language and adult literacy programming; and a wealth of student services including financial aid advising, personal academic advising, career counseling, a writing lab, developmental math lab, test center and tutor center.

Additionally, the Workplace Learning Connection, which connects high school students with real-world workplace experiences such as job shadows and internships, will offer their services at the new center.

“This is a long-term commitment to educational and economic development in the Washington area,” said Karen Gorham, Kirkwood Board of Directors trustee representing Washington County. “It makes me so proud to see so many different organizations come together for a common goal.”

Bi-State Construction of Burlington has started working on the 39,000 square foot, $9 million facility. It is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

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