By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Tarkio College, closed since 1992, hopes to re-emerge; this time as a technical college.
A long process to revive the college in extreme northwest Missouri seems to be moving closer to becoming reality after the Tarkio College Alumni Association bought the campus from Heartland Educational Institute and then transferred it to Tarkio College Corporation.
Tarkio College Interim President John Davis says the college initially sought state approval for a four-year liberal arts school.
“And, what they discovered was that there really was not a need for another four-year institution, but rather there was an extremely high need for a career and technical type program in our area,” Davis tells St. Joseph Post.
An application is pending before the Missouri Department of Higher Education. After the department suggested the different approach, the application was modified and Tarkio College re-applied as a career and technical school, offering courses in plumbing, wind energy, and computer technology. Davis says the college eventually hopes to expand its offerings, granting associate degrees in a number of fields.
The Tarkio College Alumni Association has been working for years to bring the college back to life. It finally secured enough money to buy the campus, at least most of the campus, from Heartland. The fieldhouse has been donated to the local high school. The alumni association transferred ownership to Tarkio College Corporation March 7th, which Davis says is more than a technical move. He says the transfer of ownership had to be taken for the college to apply for grants.
“The other issue, of course, would be just donors who would have an interest such as area industries or alumni. They would also have some concerns about donating to repair buildings that the institution doesn’t actually own,” according to Davis.
Davis says several buildings need repair.
Tarkio asked for permission from state officials to open in June, but that likely will not happen.
“We feel pretty confident that, at the latest, we would be able to do that in the fall, providing that we get certification from them.”
Tarkio College has a 60-acre campus and considers a 60-mile radius of Tarkio as its service area. Tarkio returned a modified application to the Department of Higher Education March 30th and received a response from the state that the official review of the application began April 2nd.
Tarkio College was founded in 1883. It declared bankruptcy and closed in 1992.