IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The College of Eastern Idaho is in session. Classes officially started Tuesday -- and Wednesday was the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"There's a buzz in Idaho. And that buzz is in eastern Idaho -- and it wasn't just the about the total eclipse here yesterday. The real buzz is about this new wonderful College of Eastern Idaho," said Linda Clark, the president of the Idaho State Board of Education.
The community came together to celebrate and acknowledge the successful work done by those who advocated for Eastern Idaho Technical College to become the community college it is now.
"We have about 800 students, and we expect to double that in January for our spring semester," said Rick Aman, the interim vice president for CEI.
This is an education system that, as Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper put it, will have many on and off ramps.
"They can exit the workforce and enter education. And exit education and enter the workforce. So we really want that sort of seamless integration and a community college helps us with that," said Casper.
"It's multifaceted, so there is no single thing that a college needs to do. So the biggest difference is that we're able to offer the first two years of a bachelor's degree," said Aman.
CEI will commit to providing academic transfers, dual credit for high school students, online delivery with 20 percent of online courses, and creating relationships in the workforce.
"We used to say K-12, when we were talking about education. We now say K through career, because that's really what we're talking about and we could not deliver that as effectively without CEI. So it is a game changer -- no question," said Casper.
A game changer that took 25 years of community efforts to complete, that is.
One former student, was an advocate for the shift. Even though he won't be benefiting directly, he was happy to help spread the word for the generations that come after him.
"It got me really excited about the idea that we'd be able to do a few more credits -- that we'd be able to do more for the first step for people going into their bachelor's programs. I think it would've been neat if I would have had some of the slightly more diverse options that are now going to become available, but I was really pleased to see how it moved forward and how it progressed," said Ralph Sexton, EITC graduate of Spring 2017.
The board of trustees is hoping to select a permanent president of the community college by late November.
And in the back to school spirit, KIFI/KIDK put together our own back to school photos of our reporters and anchors. If you want to take a look at those and to guess who's who, click here.