Saturday, March 24, 2007

This is exciting. Union Twp. is where we plan to open Cross Current!

Union Township site is chosen for college

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The wrangling over where Butler County Community College will locate its Lawrence County campus is over.

The college board of trustees announced Wednesday the new branch campus would be located off U.S. Route 224 in Union Township near the intersection of Covert Road.

Multiple developers from New Castle and Neshannock and Union townships had been vying for the project since the college made it known that it would wanted a larger facility.

The college now offers courses at the Lawrence County Learning Center in New Castle, the Lawrence County Career and Vocational Center in Shenango Township and Neshannock High School.

Bill O'Brien, vice president for continuing education and off-campus centers, said they want to consolidate their credit courses into one building, but they still intend to use the three other sites for overflow classes, continuing education classes and partnerships they have with area universities that allow students to complete a bachelor's degree program.

The college has signed a 10-year lease with builder/developer Leo Golba, O'Brien said.

What's planned

The new site includes 13.4 acres with a proposed 25,000-square-foot building and 384 parking spaces. There also is room to expand, he said.

O'Brien said they have asked Golba to consider putting a day-care center, coffee shop, restaurant and gym facility at the front of the property to give Lawrence County pupils the same amenities that are available in Butler.

Since 1989, BC3 has offered credit and noncredit classes and now serves approximately 500 students each year at its three locations in Lawrence County.

According to Bill O'Brien, Vice President for Continuing Education and Off-Campus Centers, BC3's enrollment in Lawrence County has grown 10 percent each year for the past five or six years. The school needed of a centralized location to better serve students, he said.

Construction is slated to begin in late spring, and school officials hope to open the new location in May 2008.

Lawrence County Commissioner Ed Fosnaught, a supporter of locating the campus in downtown New Castle, said he would still like to work with college officials to keep tuition costs down.

Lawrence County residents pay the Butler in-county tuition rate of $91 per credit, plus $10. As of July 1, the college will be charging all Lawrence County residents its out-of-county rate of $164 per credit.

Fosnaught had tried to persuade his fellow commissioners to kick in some money for the downtown proposal with the caveat the college not raise tuition. The other two commissioners did not want to favor one site but said they might consider some type of contribution once the decision was made.

The decision to use Golba's site is subject to the final agreement on the lease terms, school officials said.

No comments: