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Yavapai College has campuses in Prescott, Prescott Valley and Clarkdale. It plans to sell its Sedona Center for Arts & Technology campus, former home of the Sedona Film School and Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking, according to its recently released 10-year plan. Many programs will be consolidated, moving them from the Verde Valley to the far side of Mingus Mountain.The 10-year plan recently released by Yavapai College is great — for students living in Prescott and Prescott Valley. Nearly $103 million in capital improvements and programs are scheduled for the other side of the mountain. Students in Prescott will also have access to a host of new programs because the Yavapai College board has decided to spend the next decade gutting programs in Sedona and Clarkdale as well as Chino Valley.

Yavapai College has plans to consolidate its nursing programs by eventually moving all of them to the Prescott campus. The college board expects Verde Valley nursing students to regularly make the 60 to 90 minute hour trek over the hill to classes in Prescott or Prescott Valley once the move is completed.

Managing Editor Christopher Fox GrahamPart of the draw to Yavapai College is proximity. If Yavapai College claims enrollment numbers are suffering, killing a program that draws students due to a convenient location is a ridiculously short-sighted plan doomed to hurt the program even more. If Sedona and Verde Valley nursing students can’t conveniently go to school in Clarkdale, then earning a bachelor of science degree from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff makes more long-term financial and academic sense than earning an associate’s degree in Prescott.

Additionally, Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood is one of the top-ranked rural medical centers in the country, constantly winning awards for its programs. Likewise, the Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona Healthcare is located in Sedona. If nursing students have to move elsewhere for school, they’ll likely stay in those areas for post-graduate employment.

Yavapai College has also killed the Sedona Film School. Once the Zaki Gordon Institute for Independent Filmmaking packed up in 2011 and moved to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Yavapai College did nothing to promote its replacement and enrollment dropped. Now Yavapai College owns a beautiful empty building in West Sedona ill-suited for other programs without major renovations not included in Yavapai College’s 10-year plan.

Yavapai College has floated the idea of opening a culinary school in Sedona, but without any capital investment budgeted for land and a new building, it isn’t happening.

Yavapai College also intends to sell the Sedona Film School building, so don’t expect a culinary school to open there. Profits from the sale will also go back over the hill and not be used here.

Verde Valley students contributed 11 percent of the college’s tuition in 2012. Counting Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs, Verde Valley students comprise 17 percent of all the student hours. Thus, one would assume the Verde Valley campuses have earned between 11 percent and 17 percent of funding. Instead, we’ve been allocated a paltry 2.7 percent over the next 10 years. Most of that is for the great viticulture program, which will generate revenue from the sale of the wine it produces. The viticulture program is staying mainly because Prescott can’t steal it — only the Verde Valley has the climate and existing vineyards for winemaking.

Sedona alone contributes $6.5 million in property tax per year. We’re getting back $700,000 over 10 years.

OLLI tuition actually pays for itself, and with volunteer instructors, the expenses are just electricity, heating and water in its facilities.

If Yavapai College doesn’t want to support the communities that support it, perhaps we should break ties and form a Verde Valley college. Campuses already exist in Clarkdale and Sedona, including a profitable viticulture and OLLI program, and we’d be guaranteed that tuition and revenues would support the students and communities who pay them.

If Yavapai College wants to become the Prescott Community College, a name change should be the first step in its 10-year plan.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor

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