WSU regents expected to approve moving Tri-City nursing program to downtown Richland

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 25, 2013 

The Washington State University Board of Regents is expected today to approve moving the university's Tri-City nursing program to downtown Richland.

The board met Thursday on the Richland campus for a monthly two-day meeting. After a brief presentation from interim chancellor Richard Pratt, several regents spoke in favor of the move, which involves Kadlec Regional Medical Center leasing 10,000 square feet of space on Lee Boulevard to the university for $1 per year.

"We're about to solve one of the space problems we have," Pratt said.

University officials announced their efforts to move the nursing program to the downtown space in late November, saying it's necessary to remedy overcrowding for nursing students on the Richland campus and also provide a more clinical setting for teaching.

"I think it's a very attractive solution," said Fran Forgette, one of the regents and a Kennewick attorney.

The lease will require the university to make $1 million in improvements to the space as well as pay for operations, maintenance, internet and utilities. The university is in the middle of a fundraising campaign to collect its share of the costs.

University officials will announce two more gifts to the nursing program relocation efforts today in the atrium of the Richland campus' West Building.

Also Thursday:

-- The regents heard a report on a proposed flat fee to charge students who only take online courses through the university's Global Campus program.

University officials are proposing charging exclusively online students the same as Washington residents attending class on one of WSU's campuses. That rate would make the online courses attractive to not only online-only students but out-of-state and international students as well.

"There is growing competition among peer universities in the delivery of online programs and degrees," according to the report. "To compete effectively in out-of-state and international markets, WSU needs a more favorable rate of tuition for online students who reside outside of the state of Washington."

The Global Campus enrolls 17,815 students, with 1,647 coming from out of state or other countries.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver

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