WAXHAW – A portion of a 34.5-acre site on Waxhaw-Marvin Road could become home to a community college, university bachelor’s and graduate programs and a park, depending on the results of a feasibility study set to begin this month and wrap up by next May.
Leaders from South Piedmont Community College, Town of Waxhaw and Wingate University announced plans to explore the joint venture following SPCC President Maria Pharr’s presentation of the idea to Waxhaw commissioners, which gave its approval to the study. Wingate University is considering moving its Ballantyne programs to the proposed Waxhaw location.
Pharr said the idea would be to provide a continuum of higher education from the associate level through the graduate level on a minimum of 10 acres at Waxhaw-Marvin and Gray Byrum roads.
Discussion of the potential partnership comes in the wake of SPCC being awarded a $40.2 million general-obligation bond approved by voters in November 2016, $6.3 million of which is earmarked for a new community college location.
Pharr shared data showing that 46 percent of the 4,216 Union County students who attend community college study at SPCC while 41 percent attend Central Piedmont Community College.
However, in the westernmost areas of the county, where growth is highest, 61 percent of students drive to CPCC. She said a more accessible campus and the potential for students to obtain seamless and progressive levels of education without leaving the site would increase reach.
Rhett Brown, president of Wingate University, cited a recent report showing that by 2020, 65 percent of jobs in the U.S. economy will require postsecondary education.
“Part of our strategic plan is to form sustainable collaborations that help meet needs in our community,” Brown said. “And workforce development in fast-growing western Union County is certainly one of those needs.”
The use could potentially lead to the preservation of the surrounding land as a park amenity.
SPCC, Wingate University and Waxhaw have agreed to name delegates to the feasibility study team by Dec. 15, with the work to be underway by Jan. 8.