Murray State’s Paducah Regional Campus continues development

Plans for the extended Murray State’s Paducah Regional Campus continue to develop after being approved by the Board of Regents in May of 2011.

The extended campus is meant to serve the non-traditional student who may not have access to higher education outside of McCracken County.

Kim Oatman, director of Facilities Management, said the goal is for the campus to be completed sometime in fall of 2013.

Oatman said the designs for the campus are being worked on and should be completed by May.

He said the designs would be organized into two separate bids. The first bid will be for the site work and the other for the actual building to completed in June or July.

Once the engineers and architects finish the bids, construction companies will compete to finish the project and the company with the lowest bid will be awarded the contract, Oatman said.

“We are on a very tight schedule,” he said.

The campus will be located on the Barkley Woods grounds along Interstate 24 in Paducah.

The project is being funded by the city of Paducah, McCracken County Fiscal Court and the University, Oatman said.

He said once the extended campus is complete the University can start building it’s enrollment.

“That is a major initiative,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity to grow enrollment up there.”

Brian Vanhorn, dean and assistant professor of continuing education academic outreach, said the extended campus would bring new possibilities to students who do not have access to the main campus.

“We are extremely excited because is going to give more educational opportunities for people in our service region,” Vanhorn said.

He said people who work at The Crips Center, the current regional campus in Paducah, Ky., do not have the resources now to meet the demands for non-traditional students.

Vanhorn said the goal of the extended campus is not to offer additional classes for students who attend the main campus, but to offer graduate courses there in the future.

Murray State’s main campus will likely not see a change in population once the regional campus is complete, he said.

Bonnie Higginson, assistant vice president of academic affairs, said there has been positive input from faculty and administrators regarding the design of the building and elements important for the various courses to be offered there.

The committees approached it not only as an educational initiative, but also something that would support economic development for the larger area, President Randy Dunn said in an August interview with The News.

“I think all three groups in Paducah – City of Paducah, McCracken County as well as Paducah Economic Development – saw this not just as a means to improve educational attainment, but because education is important to show a certain attractiveness to an area, and a quality of life was something that they felt would help in getting future companies and employers to locate there,” he said.