OC nursing program returning to Bremerton

Olympic College's nursing program will return to Bremerton this summer, a change that could reshape the community college's campus.

The 180 nursing students, now at the Poulsbo branch, will soon be making the trip to Bremerton and competing for parking with the 8,500-plus students there.

"We always face the situation where we need to provide more parking to students," Olympic College spokeswoman Jennifer Hayes said, adding that many of the campus' students park on the street.

New construction for parking is beginning in a space off Warren Avenue where the school bought and took down old homes to make way for more cars, President David Mitchell said.

The relocation of the nursing program is no surprise for most Olympic College staff and students, but was met with some hesitancy.

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

"Moving the nursing program to Poulsbo was always a temporary solution," Mitchell said.

The Bremerton campus holds several advantages for the nursing program, officials said. 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 the nursing program will be located. A new, $4.5 million child development center also is in the works, which will be completed in 2011, Hayes said. The college plans to build a new nursing building in Bremerton sometime after 2013, if state capital dollars can be found.

"We'll have adequate space," Mitchell said.

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 classmates are excited about the resources available at the Bremerton campus. For her, commuting 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.”

Bremerton Patriot reporter Lynsi Burton contributed to this report.

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