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Linn-Benton Community College’s Sweet Home Center is closing


Linn-Benton Community College is closing its Sweet Home Center. They say it's to consolidate staff and resources and better serve the community.

LBCC President Lisa Avery told KLCC fewer than 10 people visited the Sweet Home Center last fall.

She said the 20-year old facility has seen many more students choosing remote education. It’s more flexible for working people and parents. However, she said, “Technology is a facilitator, but in my opinion not a substitute for in-person relationships, but it just means we have to kind of pivot the way that we’re doing, and where we’re housing those in-person connections. It’s a time of a lot of transition in higher education.”

Avery said no jobs will be lost. An advisor will remain in the high school one day a week to facilitate dual enrollees and students who plan to attend LBCC. Another staffer will take a job at the Lebanon campus.

She emphasized Linn-Benton wants to extend its reach into rural areas and provide paths to good-paying jobs, but the college needs to be creative about how to use its human resources. Avery said community and continuing education classes are popular, but those are being held in spaces like the Boys and Girls Club.

She said Sweet Home High School will absorb the center, which is part of the building but has had its own entrance and signage.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.