|After the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors approved the consolidation of River Parishes Community College with Northshore Technical College-Ascension Campus, administrators from both institutions met to discuss the next steps. Pictured from left to right are RPCC Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Bill Martin, RPCC Chancellor Dr. Joe Ben Welch, NTC-A Campus Dean Donna Seale and NTC-A Regional Director Will Wainwright.
SORRENTO, La.— Great and positive changes are afoot for the higher education community in the river region. On May 12, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors approved a recommendation to consolidate or merge River Parishes Community College and the Northshore Technical College-Ascension Campus, commonly known as Louisiana Technical College-Ascension Campus.
The official consolidation will not be completed until the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approves the proposal. That process may require six to 12 months to complete. Both institutions are located in Sorrento and have overlapping service areas.
“I am absolutely thrilled about this consolidation and what it will do for higher education in this area,” said Dr. Joe Ben Welch, chancellor of RPCC. “This will mean greater opportunities for the students of both campuses, because each campus will have unprecedented access to the resources of the other. I know that Will Wainwright and I will work together make this transition smooth, and to make the consolidated college the premier example of post-secondary education in Louisiana.”
Northshore Technical College, of which the Ascension campus is currently a part, is led by William Wainwright. Northshore Technical College has three campuses in addition to the Ascension Campus; the Sullivan Main Campus in Bogalusa, the Florida Parishes Campus in Greensburg, and the Hammond Area Campus in Hammond.
“The consolidation of our Ascension Campus and River Parishes Community College will solidify a workforce training and economic development venture that will best serve the River Region,” said Wainwright. “Community and technical colleges are the solution to building a stronger Louisiana workforce and I am confident that this vision for the region will result in effective strategies strengthening the regions workforce."
The consolidation means that RPCC will become a “one-stop shop” for higher education and workforce development in the river parishes. That should eliminate confusion among students and river region residents about the institution’s mission. For the past 11 years, many area residents have had difficulty understanding what programs are offered at each institution.
The higher education community in Louisiana has experienced significant budget cuts during the past two years; this reorganization comes at an opportune time. Once consolidation is completed, some efficiencies and cost-savings should be gained by eliminating the duplication of services that are presently offered by each institution. Among other advantages, consolidation will result in one catalog, one admissions and enrollment process, one financial aid office, one student data system, and one business office.
After consolidation, RPCC will offer everything, from courses and degrees that transfer to a 4-year university, to education and training that prepares students for the workforce.
River Parishes Community College, in its current form, is an open admissions, SACS-accredited, two-year college offering a wide range of day, evening, and online courses. Classes taken at RPCC are transferable to any college or university in the state. RPCC offers associate degree programs in General Science, Liberal Arts, Science in Teaching and General Studies, with concentrations including Environmental Science, General Business, Criminal Justice, and Computer Science. To apply for admission, or for more information, log on to www.rpcc.edu, or call 225-675-8270. The college can be found on Facebook, as well, at www.facebook.com/rpcc.edu.