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Fri, Feb. 28

MCC Golden Valley facility could include classrooms

KINGMAN - The public has from now through July 19 to submit comments on Mohave Community College's attempt to secure a site from the Bureau of Land Management to build a satellite building in Golden Valley. But while building a site in Golden Valley has long been a goal of the college, exactly what is going to be built there remains relatively uncertain, according to MCC Vice President for Administration Lynn Cundiff.

"In a number of instances, we've requested BLM land for building purposes," Cundiff said. "Even before (college) President (Michael) Kearns was here, President (Thomas) Henry and others were looking at a piece of land in Golden Valley because of the population base there."

Cundiff said the original idea was to build a processing facility in Golden Valley where prospective students could do the requisite testing and applications to be admitted to the college, yet there would be no actual classes there. Now, Cundiff said the processing center idea is still central to the new facility, but MCC is considering the possibility of including a few classrooms as well.

"That piece of the puzzle has not been formalized, what we'd actually put there, other than an intake center," he said. "I believe we as a college need to be able to meet the needs of the community in that part of our county in a more effective way and bring education directly to them. This would be our first pass at making that start to happen for citizens in that area."

That said, Cundiff ruled out the possibility that the new facility would constitute a full satellite campus like the ones in Bullhead City or Lake Havasu City. "We're not looking at a full campus by any means," he said. "I would assume it will be some kind of basic design that could be added to over time."

The land MCC seeks to build on consists of 12.5 acres that sits adjacent to Black Mountain Elementary School, just to the west along Highway 68. That could be a cause for concern for some local residents, since it would likely introduce more traffic to a stretch of highway that has already been the site of several serious traffic accidents in recent years and prompted the state Department of Transportation last year to lower the speed limit around Black Mountain and put up flashing signals during school hours.

How much the new facility would cost remains anyone's guess, since Cundiff said the actual square footage likely won't be determined until after BLM has agreed to allow MCC to lease the land. Cundiff said the initial facility will probably be smaller than the college's $1.2 million, 10,000-square-foot Allied Health Services building currently wrapping up construction at 1801 Detroit Ave. in Kingman.

"Cost would vary depending on the size and the complexity of the building," he said. "Generally, construction costs range between $75 and $150 per square foot depending on what's in it and the complexity. But we haven't broached it enough to determine how we'd go about funding it or even what the square footage will be."

The public can voice any concerns or comments on the proposed building by submitting them in writing to BLM Field Director Ruben Sanchez in the Kingman Field Office at 2755 Mission Blvd. Further questions can also be directed to Environmental Protection Specialist Andy Whitefield at (928) 718-3746,

Following the initial public comment section in June and July, Whitefield said BLM will spend the next month going over the comments and compiling an environmental impact assessment for the land. By late August, BLM will issue a decision on whether or not MCC may proceed with the land lease. If it can, Whitefield said MCC will then have five years to show substantial progress on the plans it originally submitted.

It's at that point, Cundiff said, that the college will begin planning the specifics, such as size, facilities and what kinds of classes, if any, will be offered there.

"I think it's probably late fall to winter to have that process moved through," he said.

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