Wingate’s Ballantyne classes start Monday

Professors, administrators and electricians will be busy throughout the weekend at Wingate University’s new campus in Ballantyne.

Crews and staff with Wingate University worked Wednesday, Aug. 21, to prepare the school’s new Ballantyne campus in time for classes to start Monday, Aug. 26.

Crews and staff with Wingate University worked Wednesday, Aug. 21, to prepare the school’s new Ballantyne campus in time for classes to start Monday, Aug. 26.

Teams are putting the final touches on the school’s new campus, located in the Harris Building in the Ballantyne Corporate Park. The school announced in June that it would move all of its Matthews-based programs to south Charlotte after 22 years in the southeast Mecklenburg town. Classes are scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 26, as the 2013-14 school year gets under way.

The school is moving its master’s in business administration, graduate programs in sports management and education, an undergraduate program for working adults and other professional and continuing education offerings to the Ballantyne Corporate Park off Johnston Road.  The move means the end of Wingate classes in Matthews, with university officials saying they now have enough room and resources in Ballantyne for the current programs and any future expansion. Previously plans were to expand the programs in Matthews, but Ballantyne offers more space, room to grow and better parking options. The campus is already at 13,600 square feet with 10 classrooms, a computer lab and more administrative offices.

Expansion at the Ballantyne campus could be coming sooner rather than later as the programs grow. Jeff Atkinson, director of marketing and communications for Wingate, said he’s already heard from some staff that they’d like more space at their new campus. That being said, “we’re very happy with the accommodations that (corporate park manager) Bissell Companies has done,” Atkinson said. “The facility is fantastic… we can’t wait to get started.”

The corporate park also offers a number of connections for the university’s master’s in business administration program due to the more than 250 companies located there – including MetLife and SPX – that weren’t in Matthews.

Professors and administration could be seen this week moving into their offices in Ballantyne’s Harris Building, while crews put the final touches on classrooms and technology that will be used to broadcast classes to the school’s home campus in Wingate and additional satellite campus in Hendersonville.

“The new campus gives us a little better access to technology,” professor Cindy Compton said Wednesday, Aug. 21, while unloading books in her new office. Compton teaches graduate education and is a capstone liaison and coordinator. “It’s important that we teach the 21st century learner for jobs that don’t exist yet. So, the more we can incorporate 21st century ideas, concepts and technology, the better they will be able to lead that 21st century learning.”

For Ballantyne, the school brings a missing piece to the puzzle in making the corporate park the top choice for relocating companies. Park leaders already boast of the many amenities Ballantyne has to offer – proximity to I-485 and numerous housing, retail and restaurant options – but the community has lacked higher education offerings. Wingate’s move to south Charlotte, and the potential expansion of programs, could become a tool for Bissell Companies to use in luring in new businesses.

The new campus will host an open house for registered students on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. A public open house will be held sometime in September. Around 600 students will attend classes at the new campus.

Find more information about the school and programs offered at its website, www.wingate.edu.

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