In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Iowa Lakes Community College board of trustees agreed to end the broadcast journalism program due to low enrollment.
Estherville campus dean Scott Stokes said there are five students currently in the program - including four freshmen. Bob Pritchard is program director.
"We've been doing everything we can to increase numbers," said Stokes, noting the program had been the subject of a strong marketing effort. He said the college will finish out the four freshmen, including hands-on work in the broadcasting booth. Stokes noted just 35 jobs available in broadcast media statewide.
College president Val Newhouse said she had looked at enrollment trends and equipment in making the recommendation. She said the college is looking at combining journalism, photography and broadcasting into an overall program with a digital media emphasis.
"Digital media is still the direction we're looking at going," Stokes agreed. He said he would like to have the new program ready for students fall 2015.
Trustee Jane Goeken also suggested a certificate or "a more compact program".
After it approved a motion to terminate Pritchard's contract, the board approved the sale of its property at 620 First Ave. S. to the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has leased the property for several years and was previously located on Central Avenue. Trustee Bob Jennings moved that Newhouse and college attorney Scot Baumeister be authorized to prepare the documents for the sale, and the board approved.
The board also approved a debt retirement payment of $79,027.50 to Wells Fargo Bank for the Spencer property.