By Taryn Gillespie
Hutchinson Community College is planning to merge with Sidney’s Hairdressing College to create more options for students who want a cosmetology degree.
According to Dr. Carter File, president of Hutchinson Community College, they plan to have this transition made by the end of this school year.
“Hutchinson Community College is merging with Sidney’s Hairdressing college which means that by June 1st, our target date to takeover all operations and start a class,” File said.
Bill Wyer, president of Sidney’s Hairdressing College started the process of looking for a buyer of his school. HCC was a top choice in his opinion regarding who he trusted to keep the school running.
“I approached Dr. File in the summer of last year with the idea we could combine our two programs,” Wyer said. “For years we have had an articulation degree with HCC allowing our students to receive hours then go ahead and complete their associates at HCC. This change seemed like a natural thing.”
Sinclair Allen, Hutchinson, a student at Sidney’s Hairdressing College believes the price difference will be a positive change for the future students.
“The prices won’t be as expensive and that will be good for upcoming students,” Allen said. “I’m fricking excited!”
This change will allow students to take part in the college life and allow them to be involved in on-campus activities.
“It’s going to be interesting,” A current student at Sidney’s, Ashton Garcia, Hutchinson, said. “The class sizes will be bigger but I think it will be good for the school and it gives others more opportunities like scholarships, the college experience, and spreading the word about the school.”
With Sidney’s holding such a prominent name in the Hutchinson area, HCC doesn’t plan to change the name.
“The classes will still be held at Sidney’s and it will probably still be referred to as Sidney’s at Hutchinson Community College because we want to retain that historical reference,” File said. “In this region Sidney’s has a very high trade value.”
Wyer has strong ties with the Hutchinson area as well as Sidney’s Hairdressing College.
“My stepfather started the school in 1960,” Wyer said. “His name is Sid Oliver, thats where they got the name Sidney’s. He had several salons in Hutchinson and around the state and started Sidney’s in an effort to train his own people. I started at Sidney’s in 1977 and I became licensed and since then I have done about everything at the school including being a teacher, administrator, director and now president.”
Wyer agrees that its time to move on, but this change is for the best.
“It shouldn’t freak anyone out,” Wyer said. “I have been here at the school for 40 years and I feel like its time for me to step away. I think initially things should stay the same. We will continue to be a pivot point school, pivot point being a nation wide curriculum used by cosmetology schools. Our staff will stay the same. The difference is the door could be open to adding future cosmetology programs if HCC sees fit.”
The idea of merging with Sidney’s has been in the works for years while action has been put to these plans in the last year.
“We talked to Bill Wyer, the owner of Sidney’s, Several years ago about doing some kind of combination and at that time the details just didn’t work out.” File said. “We decided to try again, planning this time around has been going on for about 9 months now.”
Planning to make something like this possible takes organization and manpower.
“To make this possible it took many, just a few being Bill Wyer of course, the president’s council, board of trustees and Jillene Cunningham,” File said.
With plans to be completed by June 1st the large number of hands working on this project have a few okays to get.
“We still have a number of approvals that still have to happen.”
This new technical program will add to HCC student body annually.
“With this new program we are adding somewhere between 40-50 students annually taking 45 credit hours,” File said. “But more importantly than that it gives us an opportunity to give people who want to take career and technical institution another program. It gives us an opportunity to serve a different group of students in a different way.”
Wire agrees that this change will be for the better and allow students to get more of the ‘college experience’.
“Now students interested in cosmetology can be part of something bigger.” Wire said. “They will now have access to the amenities of going to college.”