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Groundbreaking held for COCC’s Madras expansion; gifted Miller property sold to county for food pantry site

COCC Madras Campus expansion groundbreaking 6-17
COCC staff, faculty and members of the Board of Directors are joined at Monday's Madras campus expansion groundbreaking by representatives of the Bean Foundation (land donor) and the Children’s Learning Center (which will be operating the child care center).
COCC Madras Campus expansion rendering
Architectural rendering depicts the COCC Madras campus expansion project

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The former Miller lumberyard in Madras, donated to Central Oregon Community College by members of the Miller family to raise funds for a Madras campus expansion, is being sold to Jefferson County, with the property to be redesigned as a community food pantry, officials announced Monday as groundbreaking took place for the expansion project.

The COCC board of directors approved the $375,000 sale at its board meeting last Wednesday night. The 40,000-square-foot lot, located in downtown Madras, had an appraised value of $410,000.

“This is a great outcome that impacts the future and well-being of Jefferson County on multiple levels,” said Laurie Chesley, president of COCC, “moving our Madras campus expansion closer to its goal while supporting a vital food bank in the community. None of this would have been possible without the partnership and generosity of the Miller family, and their gift will go on to improve many lives for current and future generations.”

COCC will apply the real estate proceeds to its “Growing Together” capital campaign to bring a new state-of-the-art building to the Madras campus, being specifically designed for health care and education programs, along with an on-site child care center that will serve students and the community.

For more information, contact Michael LaLonde, vice president of finance and operations, at 541-383-7209 or

The groundbreaking ceremony included Chelsey, Jefferson County commissioners, members of the COCC board of directors and COCC Foundation board of trustees, representatives of the Bean Foundation and The Children’s Learning Center, as well as select college faculty and administrators.

Information on the overall project and the campaign to support it can be found at together. For specific information, contact Jeremy Green, COCC’s Madras campus director and branch campus capital projects manager, at 541-550-4101 or

The campus expansion is a response to Jefferson County’s needs related to early childhood education and health care workforce gaps, along with a major shortage of child care options in the region. In the planning stages for a number of years, the plan calls for a 24,000-square-foot building, designed specifically for early childhood education programs, registered nurse and other health career pathways, and a 100-capacity child care center. Completion is anticipated by the fall of 2025.

The campus expansion is being funded through a mix of federal, state, institutional and other public resources. The COCC Foundation is seeking the remaining funds from private philanthropy and grants. COCC’s Madras campus originally opened in 2011.

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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