Pratt Community College's on-line EDUKAN enrollment could benefit from the departure of two EDUKAN members.

A pair of original community college members of Western Kansas Community College Virtual Education Consortium EDUKAN, an online class consortium, are leaving and Pratt Community College could benefit in student enrollment from the departure.

The PCC Trustees were notified of the change in EDUKAN at their regular monthly meeting June 18.

Garden City Community College and Colby Community College requested and received permission from the other EDUKAN members to withdraw as founding members. The agreement is effective June 30.

The two colleges are leaving EDUKAN because they believe they can deliver their own product, said PCC President Michael Calvert.

With two colleges less in the consortium, PCC hopes they can capture some of the enrollment that was going to GCCC and CCC. Online programs have served PCC well and the college continues to seek online students, especially out-of-state students. The PCC online programs are very competitive with out-of-state students

“There’s a lot of online competition in Kansas,” Calvert said.

The EDUKAN Consortium was formed on July 1, 2002. Each school invested $250,000 in the organization. Every year, those colleges receive a dividend check from EDUKAN for their share of the profit. Each college’s share is based on the number of hours they offer through EDUKAN. The PCC enrollment is the largest so they get the biggest return. The last PCC dividend payment was $123,000 and that was just for one year so the initial investment has paid off well for PCC, Calvert said.

The Consortium was able to offer more online courses by working together and providing staff and facilities. But times have changed in the last 16 years. More experienced faculty are available and more infrastructure is in place so GCCC and CCC feel they can go their own way, Calvert said.

Original members of EDUKAN are GCCC, CCC, PCC, Dodge City Community College, Barton Community College, Seward County Community College and Area Technical School.

While PCC continues their established EDUKAN programs, they are working to build a new combination track and soccer field in the land area immediately to the east of the Green Sports Complex.

The college is working hard to raise funds for the project and they are having discussions with the city, county, USD 382 Pratt and USD 438 about being part of the project. These entities are deep into budget discussions so there is work to do on the project that will feature a field with artificial turf that can be used for soccer or other sporting events plus a regulation track that would allow track meets to be held in Pratt.

Other fundraising is on-going as the college seeks private and business donations for the project. The college has received a $300,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant from the Department of the interior. This grant is time-critical and expires on Dec. 31. Work on the new complex has to begin before the deadline to keep the grant. Another $300,000 grant of the same kind is in the works.

A $1 million challenge grant has been given to the college so getting the funds solidified will have a huge economic impact on the project. But it’s going to take a lot of investment from the community.

“We need local entities investment,” Calvert said.

The potential economic impact on the community from this project could be substantial. Using the Green Sports Complex as an example, it brings in much revenue especially during summer ball tournament games. The same potential revenue could happen from the track and field.

The city, county, USDs and PCC would all make use of the facility

“The economic impact will come back to the city and county,” Calvert said.

This facility would be a way for PCC to give back to the community. It would also be an incentive for someone to move to Pratt because it would offer another activity area.

When the students return in the fall, many will be heading to sports competitions in a new bus. The Trustees approved a bid for $158,000 from Kansas Truck for a new 42 passenger bus. The bus replaces a 12-year-old bus with over 300,000 miles.

The college upgraded some technology with the purchase of 54 desktop computers and six lap top computers from Dell for $79,896.

The college also got some good news concerning insurance. Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance went up less than one half of one percent. The current single plan increased just $4 from $617 to $621 while the family plan actually went down $7 from $1,433 to $1,426.

@GaleR_Tribune