A public university in Florence plans to open a new campus more than 100 miles away in Mount Pleasant.
On Friday, the Francis Marion University board of trustees unanimously voted to authorize school President Dr. Fred Carter to accept the town’s invitation to open a campus in Charleston County, according to a release from the school.
FMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Chapman said the groundwork is still being laid to bring an enhanced nursing program to the new campus in time for the Fall 2014 semester.
“I think it’ll be a very good thing,” he said. “Particularly for the college-age students and those who have gone through (community college) and already attained their two-year degree and are looking for a way to get a baccalaureate degree.”
Chapman added that, with the coming expected shortage of primary care physicians, nurses with Bachelor’s of Science degrees will be in demand. There are only plans to expand the Francis Marion nursing program to the Lowcountry right now, according to Chapman.
Carter said the board arrived at the decision that it would meet the needs of that community, with a focus on upper division students. The school said it has not decided on possible degree offerings yet, but will likely include the nursing program to address the growing need for health care professionals. It will also likely offer several business degrees, particularly those for associate degree graduates who are in need of baccalaureate degrees, according to an announcement.
Then-Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails had offered to provide Francis Marion with the facilities earlier this year to house the new endeavor. The plan called for the town to lease the center to FMU for $1 per year.
Francis Marion is also in the process of expanding its campus to include new medical science facilities in downtown Florence.
Sheree Bernardi contributed to this report