Years ago, Wingate University President Jerry McGee told Charlotte developer H.C. Smoky Bissell about his desire to expand the schools offerings to a new satellite campus.
They knew, though, that it couldnt be moved to Bissells Ballantyne development. The south Charlotte business and residential community was fast-growing, but it remained so remote that a representative from one prospective corporate tenant wouldnt get out of the car when brought to the site.
Bissell laughed about that memory Wednesday as he joined Wingate officials in announcing that the schools Matthews campus is relocating to Ballantyne.
Wingate will bring about 600 students and all of the schools graduate faculty to the 10-story Harris Building in Ballantyne Corporate Park. The new location opens on Aug. 26, the first day of Wingates fall semester.
We thank you for your decision. Were delighted that youre here, Bissell told school officials at a news conference in front of the Harris Building.
School officials thanked the town of Matthews, where Wingate has had a campus for 22 years, but they said they have outgrown their space there. They said they are looking forward to relocating to the bustling Ballantyne area, whose 13,000-plus employees make a ripe market for the classes Wingate will bring, including its MBA program and offerings in other subjects such as education and sports management.
As you look at the Ballantyne area, we have everything under the sun with one exception theres no college or university presence, Robert Supernaw, a Wingate vice president, said. We felt that now is the exact time that we wanted to expand into this particular territory.
Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan added: I cant imagine theres any downside to being a part of this dynamic community.
The 2,700-student universitys other campuses are in Wingate and Hendersonville.
The development represents the latest coup for the 535-acre Ballantyne Corporate Park, which announced in April that insurance giant MetLife will move its U.S. headquarters there. MetLife will occupy about 340,000 square feet of space to take up the entire 10-story Gragg Building and part of the 10-story Woodward Building.
Wingates announcement also marks the latest in a series of expansion moves by colleges trying to reach Charlotte professionals. Among them:
• Boston-based Northeastern University opened its Charlotte campus uptown in January 2012. With nine new specialty degree programs launching this fall, the campus will have 17 degree offerings.
• This year, Queens University of Charlotte graduated the first class of its two-year executive coaching masters degree program, and its masters in organizational development has become the largest program of its kind in the country.
• UNC Charlotte, armed with a $5 million donation from retail giant Belk Inc., is developing a masters in data science and business analytics, tentatively slated to start in the fall of 2014. The school opened its 12-story Center City Building in uptown Charlotte in 2011.
• Wake Forest University moved its Charlotte campus from the SouthPark area to uptown in January 2012. School officials say the move has helped boost its MBA enrollment.
Frazier: 704-358-5145; Twitter: @ericfraz
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