Ashmead campus to close

  • By Eric Fetters / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:00pm
  • Business

EVERETT – Ashmead College in downtown Everett will close by the year’s end, the result of declining enrollment and a decision to consolidate with Ashmead’s campus in Seattle.

Ashmead’s local outlet near the intersection of Colby and Pacific avenues has offered vocational training programs for prospective massage therapists and fitness trainers. The final class of students started training earlier this month.

Meredyth Given, president of the Everett campus, said the school has pledged to stay open through late December to allow those students to finish their training.

Until mid-November, the onsite massage clinic also will remain open to the public, said Randy Rogers, regional vice president of Northwest operations for Corinthian Colleges Inc., which operates Ashmead.

Rogers said programs available at the Everett location will be available at Ashmead’s campus in the Northgate area of Seattle.

“It’s a business decision. Rather than bleeding from both, it makes sense to have one stronghold in the north end there,” Rogers said. “The Seattle location’s doing well and will stay in the area.”

Ashmead also operates a school in Fife and at two locations near Portland, Ore.

Rogers said the Puget Sound region’s strong job market and low unemployment rate have hurt many vocational programs in their efforts to attract students. Such programs typically do better when jobs are harder to come by and training for a new vocation makes sense.

The Everett school started in 1993 as Seattle Massage School and moved in 2001 to its Colby Avenue location. As of this month, it has about 193 students enrolled and about 30 faculty and staff members.

Once the Everett program is combined with Ashmead in Northgate, that location will have about 350 students, Rogers said.

Ashmead isn’t the first private vocational school to close locally in recent years. In 2005, Northwest Technical School in Lynnwood and Everett’s BCTI and Go2Cert.com campuses closed. Those were followed by the closure of Henry Cogswell College in downtown Everett last September.

Peggy Rudolph, a program specialist with the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, said the closure of several BCTI and Go2Cert.com campuses helped to create a spike in the number of closed vocational schools two years ago. But overall, Rudolph said, the number of schools opening and closing has remained relatively stable over the past four years.

She added that her agency is happy to see Ashmead waiting until this year’s students graduate. Other schools have closed suddenly, leaving students in the lurch.

“They’re doing it the way it’s supposed to be done,” Rudolph said of Ashmead.

Ashmead’s parent, Corinthian Colleges, still will have a presence in Everett after Ashmead closes. The company also runs Bryman College on Everett Mall Way, which provides training for health-care-related careers.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com.

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