In April, Camdenton R-III residents will vote on whether or not they will annex the district into the OTC district group. However, some may not know that just down the road in Lebanon, OTC already has an active remote center.

If successful, the annexation of the Camdenton R-III School District into the service area of Ozark Technical College could open up even more options for the lake area.

When choosing the path of education after high school, lake students do have a few options in the area. State Fair Community College in Lake Ozark has been a staple in the community for decades providing post-secondary options. Since 1990, Columbia College has offered programs in the lake area. In 2005, the college completed construction on a multi-million facility in Osage Beach. 

In April, Camdenton R-III residents will vote on whether or not they will annex the district into the OTC district group. However, some may not know that just down the road in Lebanon, OTC already has an active remote center.

The Lebanon OTC remote center currently has 376 active students, 128 of which come from Lebanon and 20 from Camdenton. All of these students pay out-of-district tuition, as Laclede county is not within the OTC district area. Out-of-district tuition is just over $50 more per credit hour than in-district pricing.

The Lebanon center is not supported by local taxes. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Danny Gutirrez says that OTC funds paid for the center, along with a donation of land and the building it’s housed in. As a publically funded college, state taxes did in some capacity help pay for the center as well.

With this center being just 20 minutes from Camdenton, the decision to make the drive to attend an OTC location becomes more interesting as students decide their college of choice. If Camdenton R-III is annexed into the OTC’s service area, any resident within the school district service area would pay in-district rates at any OTC campus they choose to attend. Of course, this comes with the added taxes from the annex, which sits at a 20 cent levy on $100.00 of assessed valuation.

Alongside in-district rates, the vote will also decide on the inclusion of a full-service OTC campus in the Camdenton R-III area, which Gutirrez says will cost between $15-20 million and have full staffing. This means students would have access to a dean, financial aid officer, campus president and more. These benefits are not available at the Lebanon center.

According to OTC, The Lebanon Center serves as both a training facility for students and a support system for local professionals, providing economic benefits and employment opportunities to the residents of Laclede County and its neighbors.

Classes began in 2011, and the center has continued to expand its programs in the years since.

The Lebanon Center features two state-of-the-art buildings: the Information Commons and Casey Hall. The Information Commons is the nerve center of the campus, housing both classrooms and administrative offices.

Casey Hall, named after benefactors Reuben and Mary Lou Casey, is home to classrooms, computer and technical labs, a student lounge and a student services department.

If voters approve the ballot issue, Gutirrez says that OTC plans to use local contractors and hire local teachers and staff for the Camdenton location, though those plans are not definite. He also said that the money raised through the operation of the campus will stay local and within the Camdenton R-III area instead of being siphoned back to Springfield.

“We won't build something that can’t be self sustained,” Gutirrez said.

He says that the option of building a remote center at the lake instead of a full campus is not an option OTC is considering right now, as it would be too close to the existing Lebanon center. If the vote were to pass, he says they currently have no plans for any changes to the Lebanon center. He predicts that it will remain open due to the niche classes available that will not be available at the Camdenton campus.

For more information surrounding the upcoming April vote, please go to https://www.otc.edu/april2020/