MAMMOTH SPRING, AR (KAIT) – The number of students enrolled at Ozarka College keeps growing. The two-year college located in the Izard County town of Melbourne has satellite sites in Ash Flat and Mountain View. This fall the school added another site.
"We started offering evening classes out of the high school this semester," said Ozarka President Dr. Richard Dawe.
Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace said bringing college classes to the town is a big step.
"I would venture a guess about 90% would not have gone to school had we not brought it to them," said Pace.
"There's probably three or four people we have currently in the classes I teach that have taken the opportunity to go back to school who thought that wasn't possible," said teacher Rose Estes.
Many of those students are in their thirties and forties and this is their first time in college. Some of the teachers, including the high school principal in Mammoth Spring, teach during the day and stay one or more nights during the week to teach college classes.
"If anyone is willing to put the time in to come to class after they've put in a hard day's work then there's the opportunity to make them lifelong learners," said Estes.
This fall they started out with 54 students in Mammoth Spring.
"We're very excited about that. It's a larger number than we had hoped for," said Dr. Dawe.
The enrollment at Ozarka is up by 15%.
"Mountain View and Ash Flat have done extremely well our main campus in Melbourne continues to grow," said Dawe.
The hope is that the number of students taking classes in Mammoth Spring will grow after this first semester. Ozarka College is in talks to purchase this building in Mammoth Spring to hold spring classes.
Many residents hope that this is just the beginning by offering the classes this fall it can also help the city expand and grow in the future.
"As more people come in to take classes from surrounding areas we could have other opportunities for other businesses," said teacher Joy Underwood.
Dawe said they are currently looking at a building in Mammoth Spring to purchase to use for classes this spring.