The new OTC Table Rock Campus is located in Hollister on Highway 165. The four-story Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center sits on land that once was home to Crockey’s restaurant. It contains classrooms and laboratories, a student services office, a library and a student lounge/study area. The top floor is a community room offering sweeping views of the Table Rock Lake area.
The center was built at a cost of $12 million, paid for through a donation from the Robert W. Plaster Foundation, a $1.2 million interest-free USDA loan and a bond issue.
Hollister voters approved Proposition A in April 2010 that allowed the city to be annexed into the Ozarks Technical Community College District and enacted a tax levy to pay for it.
The OTC campus, one of five in Missouri, offers mainly general education as well as a nursing program.
OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon says Hollister was an ideal location to build a new campus.
"Number one, it's on a main highway, it's centrally located, and there's good access and the population is growing. If you look at the population of Missouri, Greene, Christian, Taney, Stone, this is the growing area so they have the people to be part of it," he said.
Hollister City Manager Rick Ziegenfuss says the project represents a great deal of pride in a job well done by a broad cross section of the region. He expects many Hollister area residents to benefit from it.
"It represents opportunity for young people to not have to leave their home and to get a quality education and get a good start after school and even as part of our high school programs," he said.
Sitting around a table in the student lounge eating lunch were three friends attending the OTC Table Rock Campus. James McFerron completed A Plus requirements in high school to be able to attend the college for free. He says he’s glad it’s close to home so he can save money.
"It means not having to buy an apartment immediately to spend a ton of money and to be able to keep my job, too, that I have down at the Landing," he said.
His friends Tyler Wheat and Alex Pate echoed McFerron’s comments—they, too, are able to live at home and keep their jobs while attending college.
OTC plans a grand opening Thursday for its Waynesville Campus. The $5 million facility offers 11 classrooms, computer labs, science labs, a student commons area and a study area. The campus offers a variety of general, technical and non-credit courses.