ROY -- Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College will close its Roy campus at the end of its current fiscal year, in July 2014.
The main program housed in the Roy rental facility is the Final Touch salon and training program for advanced cosmetology students, OWATC President Collette Mercier said.
All current students studying in Roy are expected to complete their studies before the program moves back to Ogden-Weber Tech College's main campus, in Ogden.
"Roy has been great, and we are grateful to Mayor (Joe) Ritchie and all the staff of Roy city," Mercier said. "We felt bad having to tell them we would close the facility, but with all the growth in western Weber County, I would not be surprised if we are looking in that area again as the economy continues to rebound."
OWATC rented the building for its Roy campus in 2005, and originally used about a third of the building, which is at 1843 W. 4000 South. Before the economic downturn, OWATC-Roy expanded, and rented the full building. The college cut back to its original footprint after NUAMES closed its Roy location, as some the rented space had been used for teaching NUAMES classes.
Another major factor in the decision to leave the Roy campus was the fact that the Utah Legislature cut the hours required for a cosmetology license from 2,000 to 1,600, which reduces each new student's hours in the program and makes it easier to accommodate all students at the main campus cosmetology facility.
A real estate program that had thrived at OWATC-Roy before the economic downturn also dwindled. At present, real estate classes are taught at OWATC-Roy only when enough students express interest to merit hiring an instructor, Mercier said. Some evening math classes are offered at the Roy campus, and those will be moved to the main campus next fall, as will any real estate courses and all advanced cosmetology classes.
Mercier said it is too early to tell whether any cuts to the cosmetology staff will be made as a result of the reduction in hours required for student licensing.
"We are just getting started with the review and what the new program will look like," she said.
Mercier said the last time OWATC renewed its lease on the Roy property, it agreed to two years with the option to renew. The two-year lease ends in July, and the college will not renew.
"We wanted to give ourselves that flexibility," she said. "We wanted to look at where we want to go with this, and to look carefully, without rushing."
Mercier said some of the money saved by giving up the Roy campus will be used to help build the health care and manufacturing programs. Both are hot fields, Mercier said, and student demand is high. OWATC has plenty of space for growth in the Barker Family Health Technology Building, which opened in 2011.
As for manufacturing, moving one area of study to Roy doesn't make sense, because single students may study multiple disciplines, such as drafting, electrical, machining and welding. A commute to Roy and back for one class doesn't make sense for students' schedules, Mercier said.
"It is really important to keep some of those things on the (main) campus and not to split up resources," she said. Mercier said announcing the closure early will allow for a smooth transition. "We wanted to make sure students at the Roy location had time to finish up their program there. There will be no disruption in student schedules, so students will not be impacted."
Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @S_ENancyVanV.