Luzerne prepares school for new branch campus

Former Watsontown Elementary School which will become the new branch campus of Luzurne Community College.

SUNBURY — Northumberland County Commissioner Chairman Rick Shoch said the county is open to supporting the incoming Luzerne County Community College in Watsontown.

At Tuesday's public meeting, Greater Susquehanna Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Bob Garrett, Relationship Director Chris Berleth and local business owner Dave Zartman, of Zartman Construction, attended the meeting with county leaders. It's the fourth county meeting they have attended to say if the county contributes toward the $100,000 a year needed to support Luzerne in Watsontown, students from the county will receive in-county tuition.

"I would certainly be in favor of it," said Shoch after the meeting. "It will be an economic driver at that end of the county."

The first day for the new community college is scheduled for Sept. 16. In June, the LCCC College Board of Trustees approved an agreement with the Warrior Run School District to use the former Watsontown Elementary School for a new college campus. The LCCC Greater Susquehanna Center will offer classes in English, math, speech, biology, sociology, art, First Year Experience, computer information systems and CPR.

The space is provided to the college as an in-kind donation to LCCC in exchange for the reduced tuition rates. In-county students are considered any student from Union, Snyder, Montour, Northumberland, Lycoming and Clinton counties.

Garrett said Watsontown will be the seventh satellite campus and the second one in Northumberland County. Shamokin already has a "highly successful" location, he said.

The chamber will attend the following commissioner meetings: 11 a.m. Aug. 13 with Montour County and 9 a.m. Aug. 18 with Clinton County.

Luzerne is hosting two open house dates from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 12 and Aug. 28. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 21.