Columbia College celebrated the opening of its Waynesville location on Tuesday to better accommodate the growing student population of the Fort Leonard Wood Campus.
Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood was established in 1974 to serve the military population and their families. During the 1990s, the campus became the first Columbia College location to reach more than 1,000 enrollments in a single session.
As the student population continued to grow, Columbia College opened an administrative office in St. Robert. Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood is now in its 40th year of operation and has continued to show signs of growth.
“Today, we are here to celebrate the opening of our new facility in Waynesville,” Dr. Mike Siegal, Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood director, said.
The facility, which is located in Townfield Plaza on Ichord Avenue, includes three additional classrooms, a computer lab and office space.
Columbia College Interim President Dr. Terry Smith welcomed the community to the new site.
“This facility, the latest addition to our campus network, demonstrates our seriousness about our mission of teaching and learning,” Smith said. “It undoubtedly provides an exceptionally fine teaching environment, and we are truly proud to invest in the futures of our current students and those who will be educated here in the years to come.”
Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce President Mike Dunbar said that this grand opening is representative of not only the growing student population, but sustainability as well.
“When you think of sustainability, you think of quality of education, medical care, housing and basically quality of life,” Dunbar said. “But education is at the forefront. Columbia College, you are investing in our community and we thank you for that. We thank you for believing in us.”
Dunbar, who is a veteran himself, said that Columbia College has been successful because of their dedication to helping military personnel, their families and young working adults achieve their goal.
Columbia College was recently named to Military Times' "Best for Vets: Colleges 2014" list.
Columbia College was founded in 1851 in Columbia, Mo. With more than 30 Nationwide Campuses across the country, 18 of which are on military installations, students may enroll in day, evening or online classes. The campus offers six associate degree programs and eight bachelor’s degree programs in-seat.