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RCC's enrollment booms

Jackson County students now outnumber those at the Redwood Campus, and the number will keep growing

For the first time since Rogue Community College opened its doors in Jackson County in 1997, enrollment at the Medford facility has surpassed the Redwood Campus in Grants Pass.

A total of 2,531 full- and part-time students have signed up at Medford's Riverside Campus this fall term, compared to 2,263 at the Redwood Campus, where RCC was established 31 years ago.

Enrollment at all of RCC's facilities, which ranges from the Illinois Valley to White City, amounts to 6,022 students.

Tom Bradbeer, RCC's dean of human resources, expects enrollment will continue to outgrow the facilities in Medford.

Based on the population of other colleges throughout the state, we're still enrolling fewer students in Jackson County than we could, he said.

One of the limiting factors is the size of the Riverside Campus, which can't offer as many courses as in Grants Pass.

Students might take their first year in electronics in Medford, but find they have to spend their second year commuting to the Redwood Campus to complete their education.

RCC hopes voters decide to expand the Jackson County facilities on Nov. 5 through a &

36;40 million bond.

A homeowner would pay 25 cents for every &

36;1,000 of assessed valuation annually, or about &

36;38 on a &

36;150,000 house.

About &

36;22 million of the bond would build a technical facility in White City and &

36;18 million would go toward creating a bigger downtown campus.

2010, the college predicts 20,000 students will be enrolled in Jackson County.

RCC recently released an artist's rendition of what a new building in downtown Medford would look like.

Bradbeer said a specific site hasn't been picked, but it probably would be in the area surrounded by the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater to the north and the new &

36;18 million, 78,000 square-foot Central Library to the south.

The new building would be roughly 50,000 square feet, depending on how many other buildings RCC decides to buy. It is considering purchasing several buildings it currently leases downtown to help make a more unified campus.

Bradbeer said the rendition is a conceptual drawing of the way the building could look and takes into account the styles of architecture that already exist in downtown Medford.

Don Burt, director for the Medford Urban Renewal Agency, said long-range goals call for RCC to occupy much of the land bordered by Central Avenue on the west, Riverside Avenue on the east, Eighth Street on the north and 10th Street on the south.

Burt couldn't say precisely which was the most likely location for the new building.

When it's done, it will look essentially like the Portland State University in downtown Portland, he said. You don't even know it's there.

An artist?s rendition shows what a new campus might look like in downtown Medford if a $40 million bond measure is approved in November. Enrollment in Jackson County continues to outgrow RCC facilities here, school officials say.