Greg Hamann's 'State of the College' address is upbeat, downplaying facilities controversyClatsop Community College will evaluate its educational needs before going ahead with new facilities.

That's the message new President Greg Hamann offered in a state of the college address to faculty, staff, board members and students this morning.

Hamann was hired this summer as president after John Wubben retired.

In an effort to appraise the college staff of the challenges, Hamann spoke to staff during a day filled with meetings for employees. The staff also heard a speech from the college's vice president and met in their departments.

Hamann said the college should focus on teaching and learning - everything else should be peripheral. His comment drew applause.

"We do have inadequate facilities, he said. "We need to have a plan for that."

Hamann noted he has at least four separate plans for facilities in his office.

"I'm not interested in coming up with just another idea," he said. "What I'm interested in is letting teaching and learning direct this ... The direction of the facilities plan will reveal itself to us."

College Board Vice Chairman Paul Gillum said Hamann's thoughts on the facilities were the reasons the board hired him. The college direction on facilities could take some time, Gillum said.

Voters may not see a ballot measure in the next year. A ballot measure for a new campus last fall failed to garner enough votes.

In contrast to speeches by past college leaders, chemistry instructor Heather Goodfriend said Hamann's speech was positive.

"Even though he talked about some shortfalls, it was in a positive light," she said. "We're all very hopeful this is the beginning of a great relationship with Greg."

Goodfriend has struggled with a lab that doesn't meet the electrical needs of her program. She said Hamann "really listened" to her concerns. She has been working to provide small upgrades to the chemistry lab and restructure student projects to fit the facilities.

Hamann said he plans to focus on education, strategic planning, state funding, partnerships, college foundation and the college's facilities plan.

Student enrollment, which determined funding, has dipped during the last two years.

"We're going to have to figure out what we're going to have to do to reverse that," he said.

Student council President Micheal Black said he would like to help the college update its buildings and improve its offerings to ease the transfer for students to four-year schools.

Since Hamann arrived, he has heard people say the college is "great" and "important for our future." People have also told him he "has his hands full" and he's "got some real challenges to tackle."

In his former roles as college administrators, Hamann has delivered "state of the campus" speeches.

"I've done many of these, but not as president," he said.

Hamann also recognized Rep. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, for her work to improve higher education in Oregon.