With the enrollment of Murray State’s Paducah campus increasing consistently, Murray State will likely receive ownership of the $10 million Paducah facility paid for by the City of Paducah and McCracken County.
In 2011 when the city of Paducah, Ky., McCracken County and the Paducah Economic Development Council met to determine whether or not to invest into a four-year college opportunity for their area, they developed a legal document, called a memorandum of understanding, to outline the terms they wanted to be met by Murray State.
Because of financial restrictions in the University, Murray State was unable to borrow sufficient funds to build the facility.
Murray State bought the land and the City of Paducah and McCracken County borrowed money to build the $10 million facility.
They agreed that Murray State would pay only the interest on the borrowed money every year, which was expected not to exceed more than $290,000.
According to the memorandum, a four-year consecutive enrollment of 2,000 students would mean giving ownership of the facility to Murray State when the debt was paid off.
The enrollment requirement would also be met if the Paducah campus had an enrollment of 2,000 in the 20th year.
Brian Van Horn, dean of the Paducah campus, said the campus, which opened the door of the Crisp Center in 2014, would likely reach an enrollment of 2,000 students this calendar year.
The president of the economic council, Scott Darnell, said investing in Murray State’s Paducah campus was a great move for Paducah.
“The fact that we could have a campus and expand the offerings for higher education with the four-year University in our community established the basis for a long-term commitment to higher education, higher salaries and a better economic development environment,” Darnell said. Murray State’s responsibilities as recipients of the facility are to provide the Paducah area with an opportunity to attend a four-year school, focusing its academics in areas that are in need in the community, such as health care administration, distribution/logistics, applied engineering and business management/accounting.
Van Horn said Murray State works directly with West Kentucky Community and Technical College, or WKCTC, to provide education to the Paducah area.
“We have increased our articulations and have strengthened our working relationship with WKCTC to enhance opportunities to students to transfer,” Van Horn said. “In addition, new programs, such as logistics and supply chain
management, have helped the campus see immediate growth.”
Proud of the advancements the campus made in just one year, Van Horn said he is impressed with the results of the first master’s of business administration, or MBA, program offered at the campus, which Van Horn said was “the largest of its kind.”
Van Horn said he expects even greater results from the second MBA cohort program to be offered this year.
“Degrees like this will educate the workforce of tomorrow, today,” Van Horn said.
Story by Zachary Orr, Staff writer