With only a few months at the new Ballantyne campus and the first semester under their belt, officials at Wingate University are already looking at ways to grow their south Charlotte campus and offer new programs tailored to the needs of the surrounding community.
Wingate moved its Matthews-based graduate programs and some 600 students to the Ballantyne Corporate Park this summer, citing a need for more space to grow, better parking options and an improved connection to local businesses that the south Charlotte market could offer. The school currently houses 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 programs in Ballantyne’s Harris Building, but more options could be coming next fall.
“We’ve gotten involved now, got our feet on the ground,” Wingate University President Jerry McGee said of the Ballantyne campus. “We’ve got to be very aggressive now and get out and get to know our neighbors. Talk to the business community about what their needs are and how we can serve them. … Even outside the business community, what kind of needs there are for educational opportunities and try to respond to them.”
More than 200 businesses are located in the Ballantyne Corporate Park, including newly arrived MetLife and global manufacturing firm SPX Corp., as well as amenities such as the nearby Ballantyne Village YMCA. While the businesses provide numerous opportunities for Wingate’s students to learn and gain internships, especially for the master’s in business administration program, McGee said the partnership could be equally beneficial for area businesses.
“We’d like to know the people around us a little better and listen to their ideas and thoughts,” McGee said. “We’ve received a little feedback about different programs we might consider, try to look at those. … By next fall, we’ll probably be offering at least one or two new programs, some certification programs, continuing (education) programs, just keep trying to meet the needs of the community.”
McGee said they will next look at better ways to utilize the space they have in Ballantyne, likely by scheduling more daytime or weekend classes. The programs outgrew Wingate’s space in Matthews, where the school had been for 22 years, and instead of building the once-planned East John Street campus they opted for Ballantyne. The campus consists of 13,600 square feet of classroom, conference and office space, as well as a computer lab. Though McGee heard concern from some faculty about the move, he said those naysayers are now “great cheerleaders for the Ballantyne community.”
“Our entire association with Ballantyne and the Bissell Companies has really exceeded our expectations,” McGee said. “Terrific facilities, very convenient for the business community – especially for folks who want to get degrees.”
McGee welcomes people to submit program suggestions to the university by calling 980-359-1020 or visiting the campus at 13024 Ballantyne Corporate Place. Find more information on the programs at the campus’s website, www.wingate.edu/ballantyne.