WEST POINT – The City of West Point is teaming with educators at all levels in an effort to keep young people in Northeast Nebraska.
Monday, West Point joined Northeast Community College, Wayne State College, ESU #2 in Fremont and a consortium of six northeast Nebraska school districts – Bancroft-Rosalie, Lyons-Decatur Northeast, Oakland-Craig, Pender, West Point-Beemer and Wisner-Pilger – in signing a memorandum of understanding to build a new career and technical training facility.
City officials say the 15,000-square foot facility will allow high schoolers to enroll in college courses and offer new undergrad and grad school opportunities in West Point.
Mayor Marlene Johnson says the agreement was a long time coming.
“For the last 10 to 12 years I have been saying that we need to do something to get out young people educated,” Johnson said. “So many of our young people nowadays can no longer afford to go to college. It’s gotten so expensive. Plus, the jobs have changed so much.”
The new facility has already drawn major local support. At Monday’s meeting, the Nielsen Foundation committed $1 million toward the project, while the Stalp Foundation committed an additional $500,000.
Johnson says the community support has been overwhelming.
“We are so grateful that people are willing to do that and have confidence that we can make this work for our area’s education and population,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to put into words because it’s so exciting.”
While an official site for the new facility hasn’t been decided upon yet, city officials say it will be constructed near the Nieslen Community Center. The career and training facility is expected to be open in the fall of 2018.