KINGSLAND - An official with Southeast Arkansas College at Pine Bluff told the Kingsland City Council last Thursday that it is in the process of opening a “hub” at Kingsland School that will allow students throughout the region to register and take both credit and non-credit college courses at Kingsland.

Deborah Pyland, director of off-campus programs and community outreach at Southeast Arkansas College, told the council during its regular monthly meeting last Thursday that SEARK College would like to host a public meeting sometime during the first couple of weeks of August to get feedback on what courses people from the area would like to see at Kingsland.

Pyland said SEARK College President Dr. Steven Bloomberg wants to expand the college’s reach, and after meeting with Cleveland County School District Superintendent Craig Dupuy, is looking at using the available space inside the Kingsland School to launch what will be the college’s first satellite facility in Cleveland County.

The Rison and Kingsland Head Start programs are being consolidated to the Kingsland School campus this year. Pyland said Head Start will be using the east side of the school while SEARK will be using west side, including the auditorium. She said classes could start as a early as mid-fall.

While she described the Kingsland facility as a “hub,” Pyland said it will offer the same services available at the main campus in Pine Bluff. She said students will be able to do anything they would need to do to attend college, like registering for classes and finding financial aid.

“We’re here to commit to and serve the community,” Pyland told the city council.

Pyland said the come-and-go community meeting will give people not only in Kingsland and Cleveland County a chance to offer input and ask questions, but for people from throughout the region to express their views as well.

She explained that SEARK has been looking to expand its presence outside of its main campus in Pine Bluff. In addition to Kingsland, Pyland said SEARK is looking at satellite facilites in in Jefferson and Lincoln Counties.

Pyland said many of their students are adults seeking skills or certifications that will help them advance in the work place.

For that reason, she said the satellite facilities will offer courses that provide “certificates of efficiency” for certain skills needed in business and industry. She noted that SEARK has already reached out to the Georgia Pacific mill at Fordyce to get feedback on what courses they could offer at Kingsland to support the operations there.

Lyric Seymore, dean of technical studies at SEARK, has toured the Kingsland campus as well to see what technical courses could be offered there. Pyland said the college may explore the idea of teaching diesel mechanics or truck driving at Kingsland in addition to the other courses.

Pyland said the college would like to utilize all the classrooms that are not being used by the Cleveland County Head Start program, including the auditorium.

While no firm date has been set for the public meeting at Kingsland, Pyland told the council that it will be held on either a Tuesday or Thursday, and that the college will be catering food for the event.

Britt Talent is the editor and publisher of the Cleveland County Herald.