Higher education is on the move — literally. In the midst of its Centennial Celebration, Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Stevens Point Campus — to be located in the former Centerpoint Mall. When completed, the new $6 million facility will house a 53,000 square foot facility featuring two distance learning classrooms and the latest in computer and HD technologies. The facility will be LEED Silver certifiable and incorporate green spaces that enhance the student experience.
Opportunities for students
Richard O’Sullivan, Vice President of Human Resources at MSTC, explains that increasing enrollments over the past five years is one of the key reasons behind the relocation of the MSTC Stevens Point Campus. Enrollment has increased by 23% since 2008, putting the Michigan Avenue campus at maximum capacity. “We’ve simply outgrown our 36,000 square foot campus on Michigan Avenue. We were landlocked, leaving no room for us to grow learning space and parking,” he notes. In comparison, the new downtown campus at 1001 Centerpoint Drive, will provide enough space for current enrollments and is well positioned for future growth.
“This new campus gives us an opportunity to provide students with more space, additional parking, enhanced technology and proximity to green spaces like Pfiffner Park. It’s providing these students with more opportunities,” O’Sullivan adds. The campus will offer the same diverse programs as the existing campus, while relocating the early childhood education program from its existing confines on the Wisconsin Rapids Campus.
Opportunities for businesses
“The new campus is going to be of great benefit to Stevens Point and surrounding communities,” notes O’Sullivan. “MSTC serves over 2,800 students in Stevens Point in any given year. Those students will bring life to the downtown area. The increased foot and vehicle traffic should boost downtown businesses and the renditions we are making to the current facility will enhance the aesthetics of the area as well.” O’Sullivan continues, “The Michigan Avenue campus is more isolated. In comparison, this new campus will give students a chance to explore the downtown area, including shops, restaurants and parks.”
Over the next two to three months, MSTC will review construction bids for the campus. MSTC is also currently reviewing its technology plans with a focus on improving its telepresence. “Distance learning is a great way to provide more people with the opportunity to learn and advance their skills,” explains O’Sullivan. “We get to start from scratch with this new campus, meaning students should enjoy a seamless distance learning experience.”
The campus is targeted to open in January 2014. “The idea originated about two-and-a-half years ago and it’s coming together quickly. It’s been a great experience working with the city of Stevens Point,” he adds.
“It’s our goal to meet the needs of the community by offering programming that businesses need. This new campus will help us better accomplish that,” O’Sullivan explains. “Our degree programs translate to jobs for our graduates, and that benefits all of us.”
To keep informed on the project, visit their website: www.mstc.edu/relocation.
One of the Wisconsin Technical College System’s 16 colleges, MSTC is a leading provider of higher education offering more than 100 career opportunities through associate degrees, technical diplomas and certificates. Student-focused and community-based, MSTC serves a resident population of approximately 165,000 in central Wisconsin. The college has campuses in Marshfield, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, and a learning center in Adams.