ConVal to serve as Nashua Community College’s satellite campus

  • ConVal High School in Peterborough would expand from a high school to a middle high school for grades 7th through 12th under a ConVal School Board proposal for district building consolidation. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 12:35PM

Nashua Community College plans to house its Peterborough-based satellite campus at ConVal High School.

The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript reported earlier this week that the two schools have agreed to a partnership that will offer two college courses starting in January at ConVal High School for the general public. Nashua Community College President Lucille Jordan said Tuesday that this new partnership will serve as a pilot program, opening the door to full degree offerings in the near future.

“This is a nice way for us to assess and see the success while keeping down the risk,” Jordan said. “What you don’t want to do is put the burden of a satellite campus on the students by raising costs. But, we know there is still a need in the Peterborough area.”

Representatives from the college came to Peterborough in May 2017 to discuss a proposed satellite campus in the Vose Farm Business Center. Jordan said at the time that construction was contingent upon the approval of a $5 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture.

“One of the reasons we had taken our time with the satellite was cost,” Jordan said Tuesday. “There is no state funding available right now and the school is not in position to do anything. We weren’t able to do anything financially."

Using ConVal as a satellite campus was an idea that came out of a conversation between Jordan and ConVal Superintendent Kimberly Saunders.

“We found a way to use ConVal in the evening to offer our programs,” Jordan said. “Our plan is to do [our satellite campus] at ConVal. It’s a wonderful site and the new science classrooms meet our standards. It’s a real win for us and them.”

Nashua Community College is currently working with their accrediting body, the New England Commission of Higher Education, to have more courses approved at ConVal.

Jordan said there will be four degree offerings available by the fall – business, precision manufacturing, allied health, and early childhood education. 

“I feel really confident it will be completed for the fall, I want to get started,” Jordan said. "... The sky is the limit. It all depends on the demand. I think we will meet the demand.”

There will be opportunities for ConVal students to receive full scholarships if enough members of the general public enroll in classes.

“To me, it’s a win win situation,” ConVal Dean of Faculty Michelle Votto said Wednesday. “Nashua Community College gets to use our facility and our local adults can use the school as a place to earn a credential… the bonus is our kids can capitalize and almost double dip to get a start on their post secondary education.”

Since they are operating out of a high school, Jordan said classes will only be offered in the late afternoon and evening. Right now, the college is looking into offering two eight-week classes in a 16 week semester – meaning that a student could go full-time at ConVal if they desired. 

“We understand the barriers to higher education,” Jordan said. “We want to make it possible for students to not leave the satellite campus.”

The largest cost to the college will be paying professors to teach the course. Jordan said ConVal teachers are highly credentialed, leaving opportunities for high school teachers to teach college classes.


Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com.