NPC Opens New Chemistry, Physics And Engineering Labs

Dr. John Hogan, Dr. Charles Argo, and Forrest Spicher cutting red ribbon with oversized scissors.National Park College (NPC) hosted a virtual ribbon cutting for new Chemistry, Physics and Engineering labs Monday. The labs were completed as an addition to the Lab Sciences building this semester and are part of NPC’s four-year degree partnership with Southern Arkansas University (SAU).

The College announced the four-year degree partnership with SAU in February 2019 as a result of student demand and feedback. The campus broke ground on the Lab Science building extension in February 2020.

Dr. John Hogan, NPC president said, “NPC is about economic viability. Earning power is part of that. So, what we can do to improve quality of life, what we can do to improve earning power and how we can respond to the needs of our students are all things we have the responsibility to attend to.”

NPC Board Chair, Forrest Spicher explained that four-year degrees are critical to the County’s economic success. “We have been in pursuit of being able to offer four-year degrees right here in Garland County.” He said the goal is for students to be able to continue to live, work and raise a family here in the community. “The importance of the partnership of the four-year degree is vitally important to the economic well-being of all of our community.”

Dr. Charles Argo, Math and Sciences Division Chair commented on the quality of the new labs and how the new space will impact students. “With these new labs, National Park College now has the facilities, equipment and supplies necessary to offer our students the same laboratory experience that they could have at a four-year college, which is rare for a school this size.”

Argo commented on the opportunities the labs will offer students stating, “Coupled with our excellent faculty in place, students will be able to take upper level classes in the sciences that provide comprehensive hands on learning that is vital, not only to training future professionals in the fields of Biology and Chemistry, but also perhaps, allow them to go on in pursuit of graduate degrees elsewhere and compete with the finest students from any other college.”

SAU President, Dr. Trey Berry expressed SAU’s commitment to the partnership. “We are committed to these students and all that they are doing and we want to work with each individual student in the future.” He noted that the current programs are just the beginning, “We are talking about other degrees in the future.”

Hogan noted just over 20 percent of Garland County residents hold a bachelor’s degree, compared to 22 percent statewide and more than 30 percent nationwide. “If we were able to close the gap here in Garland County to the Arkansas mean, that translates to nearly $33 million in earnings in this county.” He said that increasing that to meet the national mean would equate to nearly $185 million in additional earnings for Garland County residents.

Chemistry faculty Dr. Jason Martin provided a virtual tour of the new spaces. He said, “I just want to reemphasize what we are offering here on campus is second to none in the state as far as four-year undergraduate chemistry programs are concerned.”

Pictured left to right are Dr. John Hogan, Dr. Charles Argo, and Forrest Spicher.