Olympic College moving nursing program back to Bremerton

Olympic College is moving its nursing program away from the Poulsbo campus. - Tad Sooter/Staff Photo
Olympic College is moving its nursing program away from the Poulsbo campus.
— image credit: Tad Sooter/Staff Photo

POULSBO — Olympic College will move its nursing program from Poulsbo to Bremerton this summer, a change that will reshape curriculum at the North Kitsap campus.

Nursing students account for 20 percent of the Poulsbo campus’ student body. College officials expect there may be a small dip in Poulsbo enrollment next fall but the school is already planning to add courses tailored for North Kitsap students. At this point, however, they aren’t sure what those courses will be.

“It’s really finding out what the demand is and filling that need,” Olympic College President David Mitchell said.

Olympic College Poulsbo Director Kristin Poppo said the school will likely expand its transfer programs to help fill the void left by the nursing program.

The Poulsbo location draws many Running Start students and high school graduates from North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island looking to transfer into larger schools. Excluding nursing students, about 60 percent of Poulsbo students are in transfer programs.

Poppo said new courses at the Poulsbo campus could include liberal arts and business transfer programs.

The relocation of the nursing program is no surprise for most Olympic College staff and students.

Nursing was moved to Poulsbo in 2004 to give its classes more space, with the expectation the program would eventually return to the flagship campus.

The Bremerton campus holds several advantages for the nursing program. It boasts a larger reference library, and it’s closer to the medical district and the college’s child development center.

By summer it will have more room too.

Several construction projects are under way at the Bremerton campus, including a remodel of the College Services Center, where nursing will be located. A new, $4.5 million child development center also is in the works. The college plans to build a new nursing building in Bremerton sometime after 2013, when state funding is in place.

First-year nursing student Jamie Dibbern, 23, said she was notified about the move in a letter from the college in September.

Dibbern, who lives on Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, said some of her classmates are excited about the resources available at the Bremerton campus. For her, the program’s move to Bremerton will be a nuisance.

“I’m not too thrilled about it,” Dibbern said. “I like the drive up here and it’s smaller. You don’t have to fight for parking.”

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