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11-01-02: Lake Campus expansion scrapped
Consulting firm looking into alternative construction  plan to address
increasing enrollment at Lake Campus

The Daily Standard

    MINSTER - Wright State University-Lake Campus officials have scrapped plans for a $12.5 million expansion project, even though student enrollment at the campus saw a 10 percent increase last year.
    "That plan has been taken off the table," Lake Campus Dean Anita Curry-Jackson said this morning.
    Student enrollment at the Lake Campus rose 10 percent last school year, university President Kim Goldenberg announced during the annual report to the community held Thursday.
    Goldenberg, who spoke at a luncheon at the Minster Knights of Columbus Hall, said enrollment is increasing faster at Wright State than any other four-year school in the state. The university overall saw a 4.1 percent increase in enrollment.
    Officials said state budget cuts led them to drop an aggressive expansion plan for the Lake Campus unveiled in 1999. Comprehensive Facilities Planning Inc., Columbus, recommended cutting the plan due to uncertainty about the availability of state financial assistance for the project, Lake Campus Assistant Dean Gregg Schumm said this morning. The consulting firm still is working with campus officials to address space
    "It doesn't eliminate our need," Schumm said. "We will have to see what we can do. Plans for expansion have been downsized quite a bit."
    Curry-Jackson said no decisions have been made on how to take care of the campus' limited space.
    "We have looked at modifications to the space we have, and we have discussed renovations and additions," Curry-Jackson said. "We are in the infant stages. We hope to have ideas in place by the end of the academic year."
    Until then, the university has divided up the back of the auditorium into two classrooms to provide more classroom space, and has encouraged more students to sign up for classes at open times between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.
    Lake Campus officials in 1999 announced preliminary plans for a 65,000-square-foot building to be completed by 2005. The expansion would have increased student enrollment capabilities by 50 percent and was to add several community- and economic development-related features. Plans included additional classroom space, an auditorium, conference facilities, an observation deck and possibly a boat marina. Goldenberg did not address the scuttled expansion plan during his presentation Thursday.
    Goldenberg did talk about the increasing enrollment and said the number of high excelling students choosing the university also is impressive.
    "A lot of valedictorians are coming here. I hear more and more about the Lake Campus being the No. 1 choice of valedictorians in the area," he said.
    Goldenberg said the university was top in the state on return on investment on state money spent for research, earning $6.40 for every dollar invested. One of its top research programs has been a study on zinc oxide. The university received an $8.5 million grant from the Department of Defense for a study on replacing silicon in computer parts with zinc oxide, gallium nitride and other substances.
    "More and more, we are fitting larger pieces of information into smaller space," Goldenberg said of the research. "It's reaching the point where it is getting to a molecular level and heat is becoming a problem. Zinc oxide allows the electrons to move faster. Over the past year, we have developed a better understanding of the material and we are making it more efficient. But it is still in a very fundamental stage."
    Goldenberg also discussed the school's increasing number of Web-based courses. He said it has grown from offering only a handful five years ago to more than a thousand courses this year.


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