February 21, 2020

Kirtland Community College approves sale of West Branch campus location

Campus to become the Alternative Educational Academy for local students


WEST BRANCH — Kirtland Community College has approved the sale of its former campus location in West Branch to Iosco Regional Educational Service Agency (IRESA), an agency offering specialized education programs. IRESA plans to use the building for the Alternative Educational Academy, serving at-risk youth in Ogemaw County and surrounding counties.  

“We’re thankful that the West Branch campus will continue to be used for innovative educational programs that enhance and invest in our community,” said Dr. Tom Quinn, president of Kirtland Community College. 

Both the classrooms and office spaces within the building will be used for operational purposes in IRESA’s academy, which provides individualized, non-traditional programs designed to meet the unique needs of at-risk students. The academy, a charter school serviced by IRESA, is authorized by the Crawford, Oscoda, Ogemaw, Roscommon Intermediate School District (COOR ISD). Serving students from sixth to 12th grade since 2014, the Alternative Educational Academy, which also provides assistance in job searching, counseling and career success, has led 102 students to graduate with a Michigan Merit Diploma.  

As the academy relocates from one room in the Michigan Works! building to the West Branch campus, it will achieve greater capacity to serve students, as the current enrollment is 147. 

“This building will bring even more opportunities to enhance our program, which allows us to bring flexible, effective learning to students who struggle in traditional school settings,” says Tina Williams, Alternative Education Admin for IRESA, “With more space for hands-on learning and tutoring, we’ll be able to provide students the support they need to succeed.”  

The campus was sold to IRESA for a total of $425,000, which includes the property, office and classroom furniture and digital technology such as projectors and screens.  

The West Branch campus of Kirtland Community College was opened in 2012, and was used for community education and academic courses including surgical technology and medical programs, business and general education. Due to low enrollment numbers the campus was closed for academic purposes in 2017, while the building continued to be used for community education. Local residents seeking community education can now find course offerings through Kirtland’s Grayling campus. 

“As the needs of Kirtland’s students continue to evolve, enrollment at the West Branch campus declined significantly to the point that operational and instructor costs became too high to maintain,” stated Dr. Quinn, “With the support of West Branch-Rose City area schools, we will continue offering dual enrollment and online college courses to high school students in Ogemaw County and beyond.”  

The new owners at West Branch have agreed to lease classroom space as needed to Kirtland, maintaining the option of the college offering community education courses in the future, based on demand in the West Branch area. 

To learn more about community education courses offered at Grayling, visit kirtland.edu/community-education/

“We’re grateful to the West Branch community for the support they’ve given us, and we plan to continue serving them through online learning, programming at the Grayling and Gaylord campuses, dual enrollment at the West Branch-Rose City schools and future community education courses,” expressed Dr. Quinn. 

To learn more about IRESA and its programming, visit https://www.ioscoresa.net/.


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