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CVTC eyes expansion, new leadership

With Beth Hein in place as the new administrator for Chippewa Valley Technical College's River Falls campus, plans will get underway to study how best to expand the River Falls technical college campus. Needs of business and industry will drive expansion specifics. <i>Submitted photo</i>

Chippewa Valley Technical College is expanding its leadership team at the River Falls campus as it prepares for an expansion of the campus itself.

Beth Hein was also named campus administrator and dean at River Falls, effective with the start of the spring term this week. Hein had served as CVTC's dean of business and service.

Among Hein's new duties in River Falls will be to direct an expansion of both the physical facilities and program offerings at the 500 S. Wasson Lane campus that opened in the 1998-99 term.

"Our plan in River Falls is to create a comprehensive campus, one in which all the services available at the Eau Claire campus will be available at the River Falls campus," said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Roger Stanford.

The size, function, design, cost and financing of the physical expansion have yet to be determined, according to Director of Facilities Doug Olson.

"In 2010, CVTC purchased land adjacent to the campus in anticipation of future expansion needs," Olson said. "We will now be doing the research to determine what form the expansion should take."

The same goes for a planned expansion of programs.

CVTC now offers nine programs through its River Falls campus. That number is likely to grow.

"We are doubling down on River Falls," said Stanford. "We are adding leadership there, and Hein will do research to define the right program mix for the River Falls area."

"The St. Croix Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, and it's reflected in our growing enrollment at River Falls," said CVTC President Bruce Barker. "We intend to do more to serve this area of our district, and Beth Hein will be taking a leadership role in working with the people, businesses and industry of the area to determine how we can best meet their needs."

CVTC, with its main campuses in Eau Claire, serves an 11-county area, including Pierce, Pepin and Dunn counties, and part of St. Croix County.

CVTC's first facility in River Falls was in a former Pizza Hut building downtown.

The current campus was built after passage of a $20 million referendum, which included funds for the River Falls campus, plus two facilities in Eau Claire.

Initially, only a nursing program was offered at River Falls.

For the 1998-99 term, 899 different students were enrolled, including those in noncredit classes. However, those students made up only the equivalent of 28 full-time students.

By the 2003-04 term, 1,054 different students were enrolled, for a full-time equivalent of 154 students.

In the 2011-12 term, 1,160 different students made up 318 full-time equivalent students.

"The campus is at 100 percent capacity. Every room is booked virtually every hour of the day," said Stanford.

"It's going to be an adventure," Hein said, emphasizing how much she's looking forward to the new professional challenge. "One of the most exciting things is to get to know the region better and to learn how to meet the needs of the businesses and industry."

For the complete story and a separate story about Hein, please see the Jan. 17 print edition of the River Falls Journal.