Through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Columbia college students will start attending classes in the high Sierra.
Baker Station is located 56 miles from Sonora on Highway 108 and will be remodeled for the college use. It was built near Kennedy Meadows in the 1920s and is a former Caltrans facility.
Doug Lau, director of marketing and public relations with the college, says there´s quite a bit of work needed before classes can be held in the buildings.
“Some of the building have been neglected and are in need of renovation,” Lau said. “A bunkhouse will be transformed into a classroom, and one of the six small cabins will be converted into a solar-powered lab for the college.”
Solar panels are necessary for power since the location is off the electric power grid.
The Forest Service will keep the other buildings on the grounds and over time, use Columbia College students in research projects, said college biology professor Blaine Rogers.
The Forest Service will also handle the facility renovation and hopes to have the buildings finished and ready for college use by summer of 2003.
This summer, however, classes will still meet at the station for intensive fieldwork and instruction.
“It´s a wonderful opportunity for students to study right in the middle of nature,” Lau said.
Ecology and Geology of the Sierra, and Wildflowers of the Sonora Pass Area are two classes to be taught this summer.
For further information on the classes and program, call the college Admissions Office at 588-5233.