“Everybody else was stepping up their programs, and CCC wasn’t,” Walker said.
As other schools built facilities, CCC had none on campus and was left to work around schedules of Clinton High, and before that Prince of Peace, to schedule practices and games. While other schools built on-campus housing -- not only giving athletes a place to live, but also providing a core of students nearby who might want to watch athletic contests -- CCC students were forced to find off-campus housing.
Walker saw other schools grow and Clinton Community College tread water.
“When I started, Kirkwood (in Cedar Rapids) didn’t have a gym, and look at it now,” Walker said.
He pointed to Iowa Central in Fort Dodge, a community similar in size to Clinton, and how it grew through athletics.
“What I was told at the time was they brought in an administrator from a Kansas community college, and he modeled Iowa Central after the Kansas system, which was quite successful,” Walker said. “I heard that enrollment has gone up drastically since that.”
Walker said there were a few occasions when it appeared CCC might follow the path of other community colleges.
“There was a time the YMCA was looking to build a gym, just before the indoor tennis courts were built, and we went to Freeport (Illinois) to see how Highland Community College did it,” he said. “The Y was on board but (the sides) backed out of it.”
He recalled a time the school considered on-campus housing.
“We had a chancellor, John Blong, who said to me that Muscatine (Community College) was doing housing, and if it worked there, CCC would be next. But he retired. That would have been huge.”
Besides building on-campus housing and recreation facilities, other schools also began giving out more scholarship money. CCC’s offerings, Walker said, remained the same.