PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins will join presidents Jerilyn S. McIntyre of Central Washington University and Linda J. Kaminski of Yakima Valley Community College at a 10 a.m. ground-breaking program Aug. 13 in Yakima for the new Yakima Valley Higher Education Center.

The $16.5-million center will be built on the site of the existing tennis courts just to the east of YVCC’s Sherar Gymnasium. It will include classrooms, computer labs, videoconference rooms, student support services, offices and 186 additional parking spaces.

While YVCC will remain a two-year college, the 60,000-square-foot building will allow students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees from WSU and CWU.

WSU’s College of Nursing has offered programs in Yakima since 1976. Undergraduate and graduate programs of study are available. The nursing building is located on the YVCC campus, with some laboratory facilities shared by WSU and YVCC students. The new building plans include space for a nurse-managed clinic to be staffed by nurse practitioners and nursing students, a venture that will help address some health care needs of the community and the region.

Four years ago the WSU Learning Center-South Central Washington opened. In spring 2000, the center moved to the YVCC campus. WSU has offered a number of courses in pharmacy, social science, criminal justice, human development, agriculture and business administration in Yakima. Students also can earn their MBA through WSU. Many degree programs are offered through interactive classrooms and the university’s Distance Degree Programs.

Planning for the center began in 1996 when the Higher Education Coordinating Board distributed a state master plan, followed by a preliminary agreement identifying the roles of the three institutions involved. The project will be completed by January 2003.

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