- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The College of Southern Maryland announced Wednesday that it has selected a site in Hughesville for a fourth campus. That’s exciting news and a big win for Charles County, though there really wasn’t that much of a fight to garner the site in the first place.
Even though late last summer the college said that it had narrowed down its search to locations in either Hughesville or Charlotte Hall, St. Mary’s County didn’t seem too anxious to have the campus land there. So maybe it’s a stretch to say that Charles won the contest to put the new campus in Hughesville; St. Mary’s County never put up much of a fight in the first place.
As we said then, St. Mary’s loss would be Charles’ gain.
The county and the college are happy with plans for another campus and equally excited that it will be in Hughesville. The village is situated at the crossroads of Southern Maryland, so it offers a perfect location for a centralized campus where the college can house its Center for Trades and Energy Training. The college said it weighed the important factors — cost, accessibility, visibility, size and how easy it would be to develop the property — before settling on the Hughesville location.
The new campus will allow the college to offer courses at one location, rather than offering the same course at each of its other campuses in La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick. It’s a more cost-effective way to operate, and for that reason, CSM President Brad Gottfried said it is prudent to put the programs in a central location, so that all tri-county residents have equal access.
According to the college, the Hughesville site will house the trade center, which is now using 18,000 square feet of leased space in Waldorf. The college plans to build a 40,000-square-foot facility in Hughesville. And there are other plans to expand in the future.
It might be cliché to say the new campus is a win-win for Charles County, but there’s really no other way to look at it.
Hughesville is ripe for revitalization. The college project works nicely into the vision that county leaders and the folks in Hughesville have for the area.
In today’s economy, community colleges still offer a good deal for students whose goal is higher education but who want to save some money before heading to a four-year institution, and students whose goals might not include a four-year degree but instead training in a trade. As the cost of a college education continues to climb, the affordability of community colleges is enticing. Couple that with a growing list of course offerings, and it’s easy to see why CSM has seen growth on all of its campuses.
A new campus is great news for the county. We are still puzzled that St. Mary’s County didn’t make it more difficult for Charles to land the site. Obviously, Charles recognizes the contributions that the college makes to the community and to the students that it educates. It is a great opportunity, and we’re glad the county didn’t lose out.