Great Basin College serves northeastern Nevada

By Duane Johnson
Northern Nevada Business Weekly

As Great Basin College (GBC) based in Elko marks its golden anniversary in 2017, it does so while experiencing a period of change and growth.
Founded in 1967 as a wo-year college, GBC has served its niche as a primary higher education option for residents in northeastern Nevada, although it touts itself as a pioneer in interactive video conferencing via satellite campuses throughout the state.
Along with its long distance program, the institution expanded its curriculum by adding a few four-year degrees.
In 2016, the college added bachelor’s of arts degrees in English and social sciences, as well as a bachelor’s of science in biological sciences and associated of arts and sciences degrees in emergency medical services.
Kayla McCarson, associate director of marketing and communications for GBC, said the added degrees, especially in the healthcare industry, were established to help develop needed skilled workforce in Elko and other rural communities.
“In rural areas, there’s a real shortage of healthcare professionals, particularly the pharmaceutical and paramedic fields,” McCarson said.
Great Basin College president Mark Curtis, whose tenure ends on July 31, helped spearhead the movement to add the degree programs.  He said a key to GBC offering new medical programs is through recommendations made from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.  “I would like to give a sincere thanks to Dean Thomas Schwenk of the University of Nevada School of Medicine who extended a strong letter of support for our B.S. in biological science degree,” Curtis said in a released statement provided by GBC.
McCarson explained GBC has faced challenges to alleviate the workforce shortage in other industries.  For instance, while McCarson lauded the college’s elementary and secondary education department, she admits it’s been very difficult to find enough qualified teachers, which are desperately needed at the rural K-12 school systems.
“Even if we have a 100 percent graduation rate in the education degree program, we still can’t meet the needs we have now,” McCarson said.
But in turn, the college has had its share of success stories along the way.  During his term as president, Curtis advocated workforce development for the region’s major industries including mining.  The Career and Technical Education program at GBC offers degree and certification programs to fill jobs in that industry.
Northeastern Nevada’s major industries, particularly mining, have been huge benefactors for GBC.  Last spring, Barrick Gold, along with Cisco and GBC partnered to introduce Cisco Networking Academy, an IT education program that covers all ranges of training, from exploratory courses to foundational certification courses and advanced networking and programming courses to surrounding communities.
Dr. Joyce Helens takes over as president of GBC on Aug. 1 and appears to have plans to continue to strengthen programs already in place.
Helens previously served as president at St. Cloud State Technical and Community College in Minnesota and was recognized for building a strong careeer and technical education and workforce development programs at the school.  She has also served in other community college leadership positions in Alaska, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
“It’s really exciting for GBC to have Helens on board,” McCarson said. “I think with her background, she will hit the ground running and continue what Dr. Curtis already has built at GBC.”
Statistics provided by Great Basin College indicated the school had an enrollment of 3,397 full-time and part-time students in fall semester 2016, with about 73 percent of the student classified as part-time.  A little more than 1,600 enrolled on the main Elko campus.  The vast majority of students come from northeastern Nevada, although a handful come from out of state.
About 30 percent of GBC’s 30 degree and certification programs are available entirely online.  Currently, 58 percent of its students are enrolled in online courses.  McCarson said more four-year programs could become available online.
With its four-year degree programs and favorable tuition, McCarson said GBC may look to market itself more outside of northeastern Nevada region.

Kenworth to build new Elko facility

July 20, 2017
Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO – Kenworth Sales Co. plans to more that quadruple its Elko shop and warehouse space, and create  new jobs after constructing a facility on Ruby Vista Drive.  The company plans to break ground on an 18,000-square-foot store July 25.  “This new store will allow us to better facilitate the needs of our customer base in the Elko area,” District Manager Mike McKay said. “We are always looking for ways to better serve our customers and look forward to enhancing customer experience with this new, state-of-the-art location.”
The facility will house eight service bays, employ 16-20 employees, create about six jobs and increase warehouse space to 6,000 square feet, McKay said he anticipates annual revenues from service and parts to total more than $4.5 million.
“We outgrew our existing facility,” McKay said, explaining the company owns the Ruby Drive property and has been planning to move operations there.
The existing building, which the company leases on Idaho Street, is about 4,000 square feet, has three truck bays and an approximately 1,200-square-foot warehouse.  “Compared to what we currently have,” McKay said, “it will be a mechanic’s dream.”
Plans also include convenience for truck drivers and a drivers’ lounge with internet access.  The new facility could also allow the company to have a truck salesman on hand more often and display trucks onsite.
Utah-based Hughes General Contractors is heading up the project with the help of local subcontractors.  McKay said he hopes to move into the facility by mid-May 2018.
It is important to us to use local businesses in this project,” said Kyle Treadway, president of Kenworth Sales Co. “We want to support and work with our neighbors in an effort to be good contributors to the community today and moving forward.”  The company was founded in 1945 by the Treadway family in Utah and has operated a branch in Elko since 2008.  Now with 800 employees across 21 locations in seven states, Kenworth assists with the buying, leasing, renting, financing, servicing, maintaining, licensing, and other aspects of operating a truck.
The public is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony at 11 am July 25 at 4224 Ruby Vista Drive.

Organization will continue Reverse Expo in Elko

April 30, 2016
Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — The first Reverse Expo was such a big success that Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority has decided to make it a yearly event.

The first event was March 17 in the Elko Conference Center.

“We sold out in a day and a half and still had a waiting list,” said Pam Borda, executive director for NNRDA. “We will do the event next year and focus on out-of-state companies.”

The Reverse Expo was implemented by Borda’s office to facilitate connections between area mines and mining vendors. During the full day meeting vendors were able to promote themselves to several local mining companies. The plan is to foster sales and bring more mining vendors to our region on a permanent basis.

During the first gathering 12 mine operators and 52 mine service operators interacted with positive outcomes. The day started with a presentation by Barry Campbell of Newmont Mining Corp. He instructed company representatives on how to market to mine operators. He also talked about how the mines here prefer doing business locally and how companies can bridge that gap.

Next year the size of the event will be about the same but Borda hopes to focus on a more worldwide audience including operations out of Canada and Australia.

When asked about how the new facilities at the convention center worked for the expo Borda was more than pleased.

“Being in the conference center was awesome,” she said. “It was a perfect setup for this event. People were very complimentary.”

City breaks ground on Exit 298 Waterline Project

City breaks ground on Exit 298 Waterline Project

Fallon Godwin-Butler, Elko Daily Free Press

ELKO — In what many City officials and staff described as a long time coming, the Exit 298 Waterline Project officially broke ground Monday morning, allowing for future growth around the Interstate 80 intersection on the west end of town.

“It will promote and facilitate development by providing the water that hasn’t been available in the past,” said Ryan Limberg, City of Elko utilities director.

The waterline will run approximately 1.5 miles to Sundance Drive, providing City water to the Exit 298 area — near Joy Global and the Newmont parking lot. Developments in the area are on private systems at this time.

The project has been in the works for nearly two years and will be an ongoing process.

High Mark Construction was the low bidder at approximately $1.47 million. The construction period is approximated to last 120 days, said Limberg.

Greater development will be enabled through this project.

“The City will have a lot more inventory once we have this project complete,” said Councilman Reece Keener, explaining to the Free Press he is excited to see this project get underway.

Newmont Mining Corp. and Barrick Gold Corp. contributed $200,000 each. Kenner and Limberg highlighted and thanked both of the mining companies for their contributions.

“We know that it’s important for economic diversification in the Elko area and this is a great place for there to be new construction and new projects,” said Lisa Becker, an external relations representative for Newmont, explaining this will be “good for the future of Elko.”

“We’re happy to be of help for Elko,” said Maria Anderson with Barrick’s community relations.

Barrick’s contribution is to help with the grading of the roadway, she said.

The Redevelopment Agency was instrumental in reaching out to the mining corporations for funding.

Pam Borda, executive director of Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority, said she has been working with the City for about the last five years to “get Exit 298 to be extended as part of the City and then developed as an industrial park.”

“When they started trying to get the waterline out here and started budgeting they didn’t have enough funds in their water accounts,” she said, explaining what started the fundraising process and how the money could not simply come from anywhere.

Keener said the help from the City’s “mine friends” has not only brought up the timetable on the project, but they also understand how imperative the industrial space is to making the land viable for development.

Some development has even moved away from Elko due to the impracticality of industrial expansion in the area, according to Keener.

As the project progresses, City water in the area will go from limited service to increasing the volume of water provided for the area.

Additionally, vacant and developed property owners will be contacted as annexation for the City continues.

Coupled with annexation and providing greater access to City water on sections of property — or anticipated city property — the waterline project is planned to be a “decades long build-out,” said Assistant City Manager Scott Wilkinson.

“It’s a great project,” said Mayor Chris Johnson.

Press Releases – PDFs

Click on a headline to view/download.


Newmont’s Community Report
March 6, 2015 Elko Daily Free Press


NNRDA releases Railport economic impact
November 08, 2014 Elko Daily Free Press

Elko Economic Overview 2014
Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Elko Catches up to growth
August 2014 Nevada Business Magazine

Consulting group hosts workshop on downtown revitalization
Friday, September 26, 2014 Elko Daily Free Press

Local company manufactures LED lighting
Monday, September 29, 2014 Elko Daily Free Press

Noble: Elko-area oil results promising


Share This