By Tim Leeds
Havre's university has extended its technology education to people far beyond its campus.
The Community Technology Education Center, which opened last week in the Vande Bogart Library at Montana State University-Northern, offers training in computers and other technology to the public. Its first class, on using Microsoft Publisher, is set for tonight.
Library director Cynthia Harrison said the library is the right place for the center.
"The primary mission of the library is as an information source and to help people with their lifelong learning as well as research," she said. "I see the library as being the right atmosphere for C-TEC."
Randy Bachmeier, project coordinator for the center, said there will be structured classes, periods of individualized instruction and open-use sessions at the lab. The individualized use is being scheduled with different groups in mind, and periods will be devoted to children, adults, seniors and business people.
There is one other paid staff member at the center with Bachmeier, who said other instruction will be provided by volunteers from organizations working with it. Craig Erickson of Bear Paw Development Corp. is teaching tonight's class on Publisher.
Other community partners include Havre Public Schools, the Human Resources Development Council and the Small Business Development Center.
Having the center at the library will allow people to mix their uses, Harrison said. The center could be used for computer education and research, with the resources of the library providing additional research opportunities.
Special projects designed to use both resources might be developed, she added.
"I think over time we might evolve a way to dovetail each other better," Harrison said.
Classes on specific topics will be scheduled throughout the year. A class on using Microsoft Outlook is set for May 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The sessions for different ages will be more individualized, with the center staff helping people using the lab.
"Whatever people want to learn," Bachmeier said.
There are 24 stations in the center, which can be divided into two smaller rooms with 12 stations each. The center also has printers, scanners, digital cameras a digital camcorder and two digital blackboards.
The center is open during library, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the interim session. The center will have longer hours when the library returns to its normal schedule June 10, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bachmeier said the center will have set hours starting next week, with open lab sessions from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3 p.m. The hours of 9:30 to 11 a.m. will be dedicated to seniors, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for adult basic education and 3 to 5 p.m. will be for children.
Once the library hours are extended, Bachmeier said, 5 to 7 p.m. will be dedicated to business use.
New equipment and programs will be purchased for the center as it progresses and evolves. The center received its initial funding from a U.S. Department of Education grant, and Northern has added in-kind funding and included its funding in the university budget.
Bachmeier said additional funding through grants is being pursued.
A grand opening for the center is planned for May 30 at 2 p.m., with U.S. Sen. Max Baucus scheduled to attend.
For more information, call the center at 265-3529.
On the Net: www.hi-linectec.org