DODGE CITY, Kan. (AP) — Dodge City Community College trustees have reaffirmed their desire to merge with Fort Hays State University and create the first public four-year degree-granting college in southwest Kansas.
At a meeting Tuesday, board members unanimously approved a resolution supporting a merger proposal written by Fort Hays President Ed Hammond that would create a single institution, the Dodge City Globe reported.
The vote was intended to end speculation that Dodge City Community College would be able to negotiate a deal in which it would operate separately and have a Fort Hays presence on campus. Also, the Kansas Board of Regents had asked the trustees to clarify their position on the merger after some trustees and senior staff members had suggested that a vote in March was not a strict endorsement of the proposal.
The merger plan includes developing an Institute of Applied Technology at what could be known as Fort Hays State University at Dodge City.
The institute would include a cooperative curriculum program created in part by 10 corporate partners to serve the needs of students, the state and industry.
Fort Hays faculty might teach other four-year programs in Dodge City based on demand, while courses typically taken by college freshmen and sophomores would remain essentially the same. The proposal also would require $10 million to build a technical institute and $5 million per year in state funding.
The regents, Legislature and governor would have to approve the plan. The resolution approved Tuesday urges the Legislature to make changes to state statutes next year that would allow the community college to be dissolved and merged with Fort Hays State.
Despite the unanimous vote, some trustees questioned why the proposal was being expedited when there are so many details that haven’t been worked out.
Trustee Floris Jean Hampton noted that previously planned work sessions have never happened, a feasibility study has never been created and there’s no guarantee that the state will continue to give the new institution $5 million a year.
Trustee Jason Joy agreed that without a feasibility and financial study, the board would be taking a risk on faith.
“If it’s such a great deal, why does it have to be done so fast?” Joy said. “To me, it feels like it’s just trying to be shoved through.”
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