South Whidbey Skagit Valley campus moves to new location

Skagit Valley College’s South Whidbey Center is on the move again.

The local college recently relocated from South Whidbey Elementary School South Campus to the South Whidbey Community Center at Langley Middle School to accommodate the South Whidbey School District’s “changing space needs,” according to Laura Cailloux, vice president of Whidbey Island campuses.

The South Whidbey Center, which begins its winter quarter Wednesday, Jan. 3, occupies four rooms at the community center and will continue to offer day and night classes.

The monthly cost for the spaces is about $2,000, including utilities, maintenance, internet and taxes.

“We are excited to be part of the South Whidbey Community Center where we can form partnerships with other education and training providers to create a robust offering of credit and noncredit classes for the community,” Cailloux wrote in an email.

Cailloux added that the community center’s rooms are expected to be a “better fit with more college-age people using the facility.”

It’s the third time the campus has moved in two years.

In December 2015, the South Whidbey Center relocated to South Whidbey High School after its lease at Ken’s Corner in Clinton ended. Cailloux said this kicked off a “strong” partnership with the South Whidbey School District, which offered favorable lease terms and the opportunity to better serve high school students through Running Start, a program designed to give juniors and seniors the ability to take college courses.

The center later took over the space at the elementary school’s south campus, formerly known as the primary school, which was previously occupied by South Whidbey Academy’s grades 7-12 students; the academy’s 7-12 students moved to the high school, while grades K-6 are still at the south campus.

The district’s consolidation efforts are responsible for the frequent moves.

Gail LaVassar, the district’s community liaison for the center, said the move opens up more space on the south campus for fifth and sixth graders while also giving the college an “opportunity to be in a community setting with other entities such as Living By Design that will complement their programming.”

The community center is a hub for location organizations, nonprofits, businesses, fitness and learning opportunities. She said the college fits into the community center’s vision and values.

“(Skagit Valley College) is a fantastic addition to the South Whidbey Community Center,” LaVassar said. “Their programming is devoted to our local community and provides education to people from all backgrounds and abilities.”

Cailloux said the frequent transitions have been “pretty smooth.”

“We are advertising as much as we are able to make sure everyone knows our current location,” Cailloux said. “A postcard went to every mailbox this week with the new address and class schedule for winter.”

Cailloux is also optimistic about the longterm feasibility of the community center.

“Skagit Valley College is committed to continue offering the opportunity to complete a 2-year transfer degree without having to travel from South Whidbey,” Cailloux said. “Enrollment has been steadily growing over the last year, so I am optimistic about the future sustainability of programming.”

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