Following is a statement released by Oneonta city manager Ed Lowe after a meeting with Wallace State Community College president Vicki Karolewics and three other Wallace State department heads yesterday. The meeting concerned a Wallace State presence being projected for Oneonta.
“We have entered preliminary discussions with Wallace State about offering secondary education in Oneonta. The intent is to offer a complete community college curriculum so that a student could take all courses in Oneonta needed to graduate with an associates degree.”
Lowe said that the “end game” visualized by both parties is a stand-alone facility dedicated to both college academics and technical training that would qualify for branch campus status. He added that work would begin immediately to identify facilities that could serve as an instructional site on an interim basis.
“We want to end up with a permanent facility that will meet Oneonta’s and the county’s needs for higher education. We don’t have that now. But that’s the end we have in sight. This is an exciting day for Oneonta and Blount County, and we need to take full advantage of it. It’s a real opportunity for both us and Wallace State. We want them here, and they want to be here. We’ve just got to get the details of the deal together.
“Obviously, it’s also extremely important from an economic development standpoint. Any business considering moving here wants to know what higher education opportunities are available locally for its employees.”
“We’ll have more to say about this as the project evolves,” he concluded.