Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
In Community Education’s new offices, Matt Rankin and Katina Berg hold gear and material representing the wide range of class and program offerings. Those basketballs will be busy on school courts starting next week.
As of Friday, January 11, 2019
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Hood River Community Ed has moved from its temporary pool office to its new location in renovated Options Academy.
Director Matt Rankin and assistant Katina Berg occupy the front offices, just past the front counter, inside Options Academy at the 1011 Eugene St.
Options Academy is the south building, next to Coe Administration Building, in the revamped Hood River County School District administrative campus.
“This is a great team to be a part of,” said Rankin, who last summer took on the directorship of the 45-year-old Community Ed program. “It is great to be here next to the District Office again.” Community Ed had been located in the Coe Building, which underwent extensive remodeling a year ago, leading to the temporary move to the pool.
Public access to that second-story location was virtually non-existent, but now Community Ed is located on the ground floor, with parking available in the district lot and on Eugene and Montello streets.
A secondary access is located next to Options Academy on Montello.
“We’re now starting to plan for the spring and summer catalog,” Rankin said. (See box for details.)
“Internally we are planning for summer camps and other programs,” Rankin said.
Rankin said he has contacted all previous program leaders to prep them for getting things in place.
He said he will work with each teacher or organizer to devise what he calls a “mini-business plan” to ensure the offering is fiscally and operationally viable.
“There are various levels of complexity, depending on the program, so we work to make sure the offering is in keeping with district standards, and that programs have the appropriate level of liability coverage,” he said.
“Community Education is about providing continued education outside of what the district can provide, and that education is a wide definition, from sports to acupuncture to math classes.
“We want to be able to offer that at a reasonable cost while we still cover our expenses.”
He noted that Community Ed, while a part of the school district, is funded mostly by fees and sponsorships. The schools provide in-kind assistance mainly in the form of facility use, but the program does not get a bulk fund to pay for gear, administration costs, transportation and programs.
“We try to keep the costs down, but it’s a bigger picture question of how much do we charge to cover our costs but also make them affordable,” Rankin said.
Asked about making the transition to director over the last seven months, he said, “The biggest surprise is just the amount of stuff Hood River Community Ed is involved in, including four preschools and two after school programs involving several hundred kids.
“There’s also summer programs, classes, sports, Families in the Park and all kind of other things,” Rankin said.
“It’s overwhelming at times, but look at them on their own, and each one is great.”
On Wednesday, Rankin said the next pressing order of business is firming up the popular youth basketball programs, which start competition in a week.