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Carrington College Blog

Campus Spotlight – Spokane, Washington

May 3, 2013

spokane-campusSpokane is also home to one of our Carrington College locations. To learn more about life at the Spokane campus we spoke with Peter Tenney; Peter has been our Executive Director in Spokane for 4½ years.

“This is a very good learning environment; I’m very pleased and honored to be here with a lot of very good people. In general most people who visit us come away thinking that the atmosphere here is very positive and encouraging, and I’m very proud of that.”

Carrington College has had a presence in Spokane since 1998, and has been in the current building for the last 10 years. The facility has been expanded and extended over the years, and offers a wonderful environment for students and staff.

“I believe this structure was pretty much a shell when we took it over; it was modeled inside specifically for the school. Over the course of time we’ve expanded from the original 20,000 sq ft to about 36,000 sq ft today; we have had to take on more space as the years have gone by.”

The campus has about 350 enrolled students as well as 52 faculty and staff who serve them, creating as Peter put it – ‘a family of about 400.’

The Spokane campus offers seven health care programs to prospective students – Dental Assisting, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing & Coding, Medical Office Management, Medical Radiography and Pharmacy Technology.  

“Medical Assisting is by far our most popular program in terms of student enrollment, that program has about 50% of our student body. Dental Assisting and Medical Radiography run each other pretty close for the next spot.”

The campus facilities in Spokane are filled with the tools students need to prepare for a health care career; they have the ability to gain valuable hands-on experience. Students have access to resources like a new massage clinic, a dental operatory lab and dark room, a medical assisting lab and a radiography lab with up-to-date radiology equipment. There’s also an on-site library and three computer labs.

“Our massage clinic is open to the public, and for a very nominal fee the public can come in and get half hour, hour, or even two hour massages from our massage therapy students who are close to graduation.

All our facilities, in fact the entire building, is very clean and well maintained. To be honest it’s the kind of thing you may not notice yourself everyday when you come to work or school, but when we have visitors come in, they always tend to comment on it.”

While Peter is delighted with the environment where students and staff come to learn and work, he highlights another feature of the campus that is a big positive.

“Having been in this line of work a long time, I think one of the best attributes we have is a huge amount of free student parking. I’ve worked at places where that’s been a big issue, but we have no problems there – that’s huge for us.”

Access to the campus is another great attribute; it is located just north of the I-90 in Spokane Valley in a business park environment. There is a shopping center about half a mile from the campus that students often venture into on their way in to school, or on their way home if they need to grab some food or run some errands. While many students come from the metro area, many have quite a commute to campus.

“We draw quite a few students (and employees) from Idaho; from Coeur d’Alene and even some places further east than that. We also get students come in from communities like Deer Park or Colville north of Spokane. It’s a pretty extensive circumference of about 50 or 60 miles I would guess, with us at the center of the circle.”

As Carrington College has had a presence in Spokane for 15 years, the staff and students at the campus try to do as much as good work for the community as they can.

“We keep our ears open, and find out what’s going on out there and what the needs are; when possible we try to partner with community service organizations and do what we can to assist them. For example we have a very long standing relationship with the Northwest Blood Center, and every other month we have a blood drive. Our students have donated more blood than any other college in the area, even though we’re a fraction of the size of some of them.”

When it comes to community events, the college tries to have representation whenever it can, and of course whenever it’s appropriate for the event. The biggest local event is the Bloomsday Run, which regularly has about 50,000 runners, and was just held this year on May 5th.

“We send out our massage therapy students to offer chair massages, we send out our medical assisting students to offer blood pressure checks, pulse rates and vitals – things of that nature. I would say our student body represents the school at 10 to 12 community events per year.”

The campus also periodically gets involved with a variety of different local causes, trying to help fulfill community needs as they arise, as Peter explains…

“Last winter we donated coats and hats for kids whose families did not have means to buy warm clothing; we’ve established food drives so local school districts can supply kids with a back pack full of food that they take home for the weekend; they’re called Back Pack Fridays.

The outpouring from our students and staff is extremely commendable because a lot of our students aren’t tremendously financially well-off themselves; the sacrifices that they make to donate to these causes are always heartwarming and extremely gratifying to see.”

The campus holds regular events that show students that the staff appreciates the fact that they’ve chosen Carrington College to help them get their new career started.

“We’ve kind of gone away from doing one or two big events that are very time-consuming and costly, and do smaller things more regularly, so more students can partake and appreciate them. We hold perfect attendance lunches each month; and we usually hold Student Appreciation Days once a month, or once every other month. It’s ice cream, or pizza, or cup cakes, or sweet rolls – I don’t want to give the impression that we’re always giving out food that’s bad for you… but we do!”

The faculty and staff in Spokane, like all our campuses, try to be both proactive and reactive to the needs of their students.

“We try to do stuff that breaks up the routine, the grind. We know going to school for an intensive 10 months can be tough, so we do what we can to lighten the mood and keep the vibe good – you know crazy sock days, football shirt days, jeans days…

We’ve also recently opened up “The Nest” – a study lounge for students who had asked for another quiet environment for group or individual study. The staff and I went in and painted it, decorated it and configured it – it’s kind of off the beaten path. We listen to our students and try to do whatever we can to help them succeed.”


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