By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Two out-of-state universities have done their homework, and plan to open campuses soon at Union Centre, just off Interstate 75 in this Butler County community.
The University of Phoenix, a for-profit company, will move into the Centre Point office park in February, while Indiana Wesleyan University will start offering classes here in the spring while building a learning center.
The two universities - which compete for older adult students seeking to change or advance their careers - want to get established before Miami University and the Southeastern Butler County Workforce Academy open on the old Voice of America property.
All four facilities will have high-tech classrooms and meeting space that could be used by businesses or community groups.
"We feel there's a market for our programs in the Cincinnati area," said Shawn Matter, Indiana Wesleyan adult and graduate studies operations director. The Marion, Ind., school has bought land near Uno's Restaurant on Schulze Drive to build a two-story brick school.
Todd Rickel, Cincinnati director for the University of Phoenix, said growth in the northern suburbs "makes it a good location for us." His school has been offering classes for a few hundred students the past year in Springdale, before leasing 21,000 square-feet at 9050 Centre Pointe Drive.
The University of Phoenix plans a dozen classrooms, computer lab and offices on parts of two floors. It will offers bachelor's and master's degrees in business, plus courses in information technology, technology management and health care management.
Phoenix has more than 140 campuses and learning centers, including in Dayton, Cleveland and Indianapolis. The Union Centre building also will offer online courses.
Indiana Wesleyan, which has offered adult education classes in Lawrenceburg, will lease space for classes in April or May, said Alan Miller, university relations director. The school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration and management; a master's degree in education; and a program for registered nurses to earn a bachelor's degree.
Construction will start in March on a 30,000-square-foot building with seven classrooms, computer lab, library, study rooms and offices. The school operates similar centers in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Louisville and suburban Cleveland. It soon will lease space for Dayton classes, Miller said.
Both universities will offer only night classes, usually 6-10 p.m.
At the Voice of America Centre, two exits north, will be the Workforce Academy. It will be in the new Peoples Community Bank/Southeastern Butler County Chamber of Commerce building on Cox Road.
The job-training center is a collaboration with Miami's Hamilton and Middletown branches, Butler Technology and Career Development Schools and the chamber.
Miami plans to open a $4.5 million learning center next door in 2006, said Rod Nimtz, Middletown branch assistant director.
More than 75 courses a week could be offered in Miami's five classrooms, two computer labs, conference rooms and a 120-seat auditorium.
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