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Gallatin College is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an open house Thursday to show the public and students what it offers in training for people seeking better jobs and brighter futures.

“I’m excited,” said Stephanie Gray, Gallatin College’s dean for the past year. “As Gallatin County and Bozeman have grown, Gallatin College has met the workforce needs of our community.

“I think we’re doing a great job.”

Gallatin College has grown rapidly since the Montana Board of Regents first agreed to let Montana State University’s Bozeman campus to take the program under its wing and promote it.

It had just 228 students in 2012, two years after its official start, and by last year had grown to 804 students, Gray said.

The college offers 13 programs. Some of the most popular train students in culinary arts, welding, aviation and medical assisting. It offers training in computerized machining and laser device manufacturing.

Gallatin College also awards two-year associate’s degrees to students, who can earn credits at lower cost and then transfer to four-year programs at MSU.

It offers local high school students the chance to take dual-enrollment classes that earn credit toward both a high school diploma and college.

In addition to celebrating how far Gallatin College has come in the last 10 years, the open house will look to the future.

“I’m also really excited about the next 10 years,” Gray said.

In fall 2021 it will add a training program in phlebotomy, and the following year add training for medical lab technicians and heating and air conditioning technicians.

This spring the regents approved a long-range building plan that for the first time requests from the Legislature $35 million to build a permanent home for Gallatin College. Approval is expected to take years, but at least it’s got a start on the priority list.

“That is a dream,” Gray said.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, students are signing up for classes at a very similar rate to last year, she said.

“The majority of our classes will be face-to-face in the fall,” she said.

The open house is also a way to “show gratitude and appreciation” to all the college’s supporters, Gray said. Gallatin County voters in 2013 passed a 1.5 mill levy property tax to support the college, and the college wouldn’t have been successful without support from local industries, she added.

Currently the college is located in two places, three miles apart – in Hamilton Hall on the MSU campus and at the East Campus, 705 Osterman Drive, off Frontage Road.

The East Campus will host the open house from 4 to 6 p.m. The public and prospective students are welcome to join small tours, but should sign up online beforehand (montana.edu/calendar/events/34423). To minimize spread of the coronavirus, people will be required to wear face masks, use hand sanitizer and remain 6 feet apart.

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Gail Schontzler can be reached at gails@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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