DODGE CITY, Kan. — The Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees made a decision this week to look into merging with Fort Hays State University.
Bringing a university presence to town is something Dodge City has been considering since the 90′s when Saint Mary’s of the Plains University closed its doors.
“When you lose a piece of a university in a town, there’s a lot of things you lose and there’s a lot of things you’d like to get back,” said DCCC’s Executive Vice President Michael Ahern.
The move would give administrative control to Fort Hays and allow Dodge City to offer a four year education and a technical school in addition to their two year program. Student enrollment could potentially double.
“It’s a win for Southwest Kansas, it’s a win for the college, and it’s a win for Fort Hays,” said Fort Hays President Ed Hammond.
The change wouldn’t happen overnight. It could take the schools as long as three years to go through the necessary steps. Now with approval from the Board of Trustees, the schools have to present the plan to the Kansas State Board of Regents.
“I’m very excited about the possibility,” said Hammond, “but this is just the first step toward making this a reality.”
Ahern said the move has caused a little concern from the community. Mainly, the issue of tuition cost and open enrollment, but said they’re taking everything into consideration.
“We’d like to make sure that everyone in Dodge City and the community still has an opportunity for an affordable education and no barriers,” he said.
President Hammond will be in Dodge City on Friday to go over the plan with the college, they hope to be in front of the Board of Regents within a month.