September 4, 2019
Story by Brandon Steinert
Barton Community College opened its doors 50 years ago in 1969, which means the 50th graduating class is now in the classrooms. The college is celebrating all year and is kicking it off with a huge open house celebration set for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 28. An 8-page program that includes a schedule of events and a map of the various activities can be downloaded at bartonccc.edu/50.
The day will feature more than half a dozen food trucks, hands-on learning opportunities, family friendly activities like bouncy houses and lawn games, a program expo, a performance by the dance, music and theatre programs, planetarium shows, a touch-a-truck event with combines and semis and much more. The event is free and open to the public.
Chair of the Barton Board of Trustees Mike Johnson said he looks forward to celebrating with the community and partners who have made the college’s first 50 years amazing, and set the college up for an even brighter future.
“We have incredible faculty, staff and administrators who keep the wheels greased and turning efficiently,” he said. “Their efforts paired with the investment, generosity and collaboration of our county’s citizens, businesses and communities has helped us remain good stewards of our local taxing resources and made it possible for us to maintain a vibrant educational institution both now and moving forward in the next 50 years.”
Johnson said the trustees have made it a priority to keep taxes flat, and are proud to be entering the 13th year with no increases in the mill levy. This was possible partly through the diversification of revenue streams, which grew organically as opportunities were identified and pursued by a progressive administration; opportunities like concurrent enrollment in high schools, two campuses on military installations, an adult education center, a HazMat and OSHA training center and training centers at two correctional facilities. The diversity of Barton’s program offerings grew as fast as its outreach programs, with about 30 career-technical degrees or certificates, some offered in cutting-edge formats that allow students to land a $50,000-per-year job after just a semester of training, like natural gas measurement or scales technician.
The college was also an early adopter with online education, launching its first virtual courses more than 20 years ago. BARTonline, the online learning platform, grew drastically in the last decade and now accounts for about half of all of Barton’s enrollments, serving students all over the planet and making it possible for Soldiers to continue their studies while deployed.
The college’s athletic programs are top-notch as well, boasting 57 national championships and an ever-growing list of sports, with wrestling, swimming and bowling added in the last few years.
The open house celebration on Sept. 28 will feature info booths about the college’s many programs, campuses and achievements scattered around campus to encourage guests to explore.
To learn more about the event and the college’s celebrations throughout the year, visit bartonccc.edu/50.