Photo left to right: Laura Vedral, West District Manager, Rio Tinto Closure; Nathan Francis, Asset Manager, Rio Tinto Closure; Dr. Patty Scott, president Southwestern; Burton Weast, consultant for Rio Tinto

BROOKINGS, OR – Rio Tinto and Southwestern Oregon Community College today are celebrating the company’s announcement of a 28.25-acre donation valued at approximately $165,000 to the college’s Curry Campus.

This land donation triples the size of the campus about two miles north of Brookings. It adds space to the west and south of the existing 10-acre site, which the company donated to the College in 2010. 

“Rio Tinto has been a great partner. They understand the importance of education and support the vision we have for our community,” said Southwestern President Dr. Patty Scott.

Rio Tinto Global Head of Closure Peter Harvey said: “We are pleased to renew our support to Southwestern Oregon Community College. Ensuring students get opportunities to develop their full potential is an important part of Rio Tinto’s approach to supporting the social and economic development of communities and we are proud to be leaving a positive legacy in this region of the US.”

The first donation provided the land the college needed to create a 25,000 sq. ft. facility in 2012 for in-person instruction and a distance learning connection with the main campus in Coos Bay. It also provides space for a lab serving the Nursing and allied health training programs to provide high-skill professionals for Curry General Hospital, medical clinics, and care facilities. 

The newly donated land features upland forested and wetland areas. These areas can provide additional teaching opportunities related to natural resources and forestry career pathways, along with space for potential development of a career technical facility related to manufacturing and trades. The College plans to explore these and other possibilities with Curry residents in 2024, as it revisits its Master Facilities Plan for a mid-range plan update. 

“Rio Tinto’s investment in our community and campus will pay off for generations,” said President Scott. “When our young people and residents in need of skill updates can train locally and affordably, they are more likely to remain as working professionals who invest in and dedicate their energy into ensuring our small rural towns thrive.”

About Southwestern Oregon Community College

Established in 1961, Southwestern specializes in providing GED assistance, two-year associates and university transfer degrees, and high-skill career technical training. In addition, the campuses in Coos Bay and Brookings provide dual enrollment opportunities for high school seniors to get a fast start on college, and space for lifelong learning classes and public gatherings. 

For more information about the Curry Campus and career pathways assistance, please call (541) 813-1667, or visit www.socc.edu/curry-campus.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto operates in 35 countries where its 54,000 employees are working to find better ways to provide the materials the world needs. Rio Tinto’s portfolio includes iron ore, copper, aluminum, lithium, and other materials needed for people, communities and nations to grow and prosper, and for the world to cut carbon emissions to net zero. www.riotinto.com  


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