With the final step completed, Columbus State University will begin offering classes in downtown West Point beginning in the fall.
The University System of Georgia Board of Regents gave the formal stamp of approval Tuesday on a move that has been in the works for months. CSU President Tim Mescon, who came to Columbus a year ago from Kennesaw State University where he was dean of the Michael J. Cole College of Business, said the move into Troup County makes a statement.
“In the metro area, you have to go to the market,” Mescon said. “But I understand for CSU this is not only a strategic shift, but also a cultural shift. The faculty will go to West Point to teach classes. We will employ people there to work with the student body. For us, it’s different.”
But necessary, Mescon said.
“It re-enforces our footprint in the Chattahoochee Valley,” Mescon said.
The university will operate out of two or three downtown buildings.
“It’s great space, we have a minimal lease and it’s just a great deal,” Mescon said.
CSU, which has an enrollment of about 8,000 on two Columbus campuses, hopes to attract 200 to 300 students in West Point this fall. Course offerings will include career-focused areas including communication, general business, teacher education, criminal justice and computer science.
“We will get into this and figure out the right mix of classes and the right times of day to offer them,” Mescon said.
West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson IV has been a proponent of the move.
“The City of West Point is pleased to welcome Columbus State University to our community,” he said in a prepared statement. “The addition of a CSU campus to our downtown will provide many new opportunities for the citizens of West Point and the surrounding area. The West Georgia/East Alabama Region is undergoing an amazing transformation that will play an important role in educational, social and economic development for years to come. The city of West Point and its many partners look forward to a great partnership with CSU.”
The CSU West Point campus will open about the time the new Kia Motors assembly plant opens in West Point. Production is scheduled to begin later this year.