Discussions are ongoing on the possibility of a community college branch opening in Warren County.
In early October, Warren County representatives stated interest in bringing a branch of a community college to the area to better serve its students, citing travel distances to East Central College in Union and St. Charles Community College as problematic for would-be students in the area.
Currently, Warren County resides in the ECC service area based in Franklin County.
State Rep. Bryan Spencer said in order to make a partnership with St. Charles Community College (SCC) a reality, Warren County would need to put redistricting up for a public vote.
Spencer, whose legislative district includes Wright City and Wentzville, said he’s working to bringing a branch to Warren County through SCC through redistricting. He said redistricting would make more sense because, geographically, SCC is closer than ECC.
With SCC located conveniently down Interstate 70 for the northern part of the county, it would save students the hassle of traffic concerns on Highway 47 between Washington and Union, he said.
ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said while discussions with St. Charles Community College have started, it is still unclear how the situation will pan out. He said work between the colleges and the county needs to be done to discern who can best serve the area.
“I think, clearly, everyone shares the same goal to make sure residents who want more opportunities have those needs met,” he said. “We’ll continue to work at this. We are great partners, East Central and St. Chares. All community colleges share the common mission to serve the residents of the state.”
Bauer said he met with SCC officials to discuss who could better serve Warren County’s needs. He added that the two community colleges are not competing, but rather seeing what would make the most sense.
“We know the work that needs to be done and we’ll continue to work out what’s the best approach,” he said.
SCC officials said it would research the matter further if redistricting were to take place.
“As a community college, it is our responsibility to be responsive to the needs of the community,” said St. Charles Community College President Dr. Barbara Kavalier. “Everyone deserves to have access to higher education.”
Kavalier added that while conversations with the county haven’t taken place yet, SCC is interested in discussing the issue.
“It really comes down to what is best for the good citizens of Warren County and what’s best for their students,” she said.