Lindenwood University-Belleville will open a satellite campus in Collinsville this fall, school leaders have announced.
"We are pleased to be able to offer Lindenwood Belleville students another centrally located facility to complete their coursework," said Jerry Bladdick, president of Lindenwood University-Belleville. "This decision was made to better accommodate our growing evening student enrollment and increasing number of degree programs.
"For the past couple of years, every classroom on campus has been occupied by our evening classes, and the demand for more course offerings continues to rise."
Lindenwood-Belleville will lease 15,000 square feet of space at 1101 Eastport Plaza Drive to host evening graduate classes in education and professional counseling. The new site will have seven classrooms, a science lab, a computer lab, a lounge and office space for faculty and staff.
Cindy Manjounes, associate dean of academics at Lindenwood Belleville, said with the addition of several new degrees and areas of emphasis each year, classroom space at Lindenwood Belleville is at a premium during the evening.
The new Collinsville location will be the first extension center for the Belleville campus and modeled after the Lindenwood St. Charles campus, which boasts 10 Missouri locations, as 30 extension sites and online degree programs, Manjounes said.
Collinsville economic development director Erika Kennett said city leaders are excited to see Lindenwood come to town.
"We are thrilled to have worked with Lindenwood University making Collinsville their destination for higher education in Southwestern Illinois," Kennett said.
Lindenwood told Collinsville it expects 100 students to attend the school in the first year and hopes for 400-500 within five years.
"I think they're dipping their toe in the water to see what happens in this market," Kennett said. "And I think they're going to be pleasantly surprised."
Kennett said the Lindenwood location will take up part of the closed Sanford Brown business school campus. Some office space remains in the center and she said she wouldn't be surprised if Lindenwood came back for more room later.
"We're hoping that it's going to take off here like it took off in Belleville," Kennett said. "If they want to expand and build dorms here, we're going to help them in any way we can."
Kennett said Lindenwood has not yet asked for any taxpayer assistance for the new site. She said the campus is in a tax increment finance district but that she did not know at this point if any of the improvements Lindenwood plans are eligible for TIF funds.
In addition to drawing students who will spend money in neighboring stores and restaurants, Kennett said the school will help Collinsville business owners and workers increase their earning power and it will expose the city to people who may decide to open or relocate a business in town.
Lindenwood-Belleville opened in 2003, offering only a handful of evening post-graduate courses for about 100 students, much like the initial plans for the Collinsville campus. But it quickly grew, adding undergraduate night courses, then day courses for juniors and seniors. Five years ago, the college added classes for freshmen and sophomores.
About 1,900 students attend the Lindenwood-Belleville campus; about 1,040 of them are full-time day students. Bladdick said those numbers could more than double by the end of the next decade to 4,500-5,000 students, which would represent the maximum capacity for the old Belleville West High School site.
Bladdick said that the school had about 600 students living on campus when the fall semester of the 2013-14 school year started. When construction of a women's dorm is completed, the capacity will be increased to 1,000 resident students.
Contact reporter Scott Wuerz at email@example.com or call 239-2626.
Lindenwood satellite campuses:
* Collinsville (future)
St. Charles campus
*Daniel Boone Home
* Dardenne Prairie
* Lincoln County
* Lindenwood Cultural Center
* North County
* O'Fallon (Mo.) South
* South County
* St. Louis
Lindenwood also offers classes at 30 extensions across Missouri.