Aug 02, 2021

Automotive program closes at Barton Community College

Posted Aug 02, 2021 3:14 PM

Great Bend Post

GREAT BEND — Elaine Simmons was a student at Barton Community College in the early 1980s and was a student worker for the vocational department. She remembers Bob Wagner was in charge of the automotive program at that time.

Simmons, now Barton’s Vice President of Instruction, has been around the program a long time and noted it was difficult to recommend eliminating the automotive department at the college.

"It's a bittersweet thing to bring these types of recommendations forward for any program," said Simmons. "There is also a flow to programming. There are moments where you have to accept the reoccurring declining enrollment and high-program cost. Some programs are not as expensive as others."

The Barton Board of Trustees voted to close the automotive program because of declining enrollment, high program costs and consistent financial loss to the college.

The auto program taught certified courses covering brakes, steering and suspension, electrical, engines, air conditioning, manual drivetrains and automatic transmissions.

Simmons said the program has seen very few students completing the program recently.

"Completing courses is always difficult for me to talk about because sometimes when students come for education and training and don't complete, they are still quite successful in the industry," said Simmons. "We also know we're graded in different ways in terms of completers."

The college is looking at new programming opportunities for the space the automotive department occupied.