Growing Western Part 1

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The leadership of Daviess County has some big ideas for the Western extension in Owensboro. One of their goals is to graduate 1,000 students a year by 2010, with that number doubling to 2,000 a year by 2015. The new WKU campus will serve as a place for students to take junior, senior and graduate level classes, after they have completed their freshman and sophomore years at the Owensboro Community and Technical College.

"You look around the state look around the country to those communities that are progressive, where economic development is well and healthy, where there are many opportunities for growth. Nine times our of ten you're going to find a community in which there is a vibrant 4 year public institution." said Reid Haire, Daviess County judge executive.

The future of WKU's expansion won't end right here on the hill, it stretches all across the state, including to a farm field right here in Owensboro.

Thursday's announcement that WKU would be building a campus in Owensboro has a lot of people excited about the potential for higher education in and around Daviess County.

"For the students who may not be able to drive to Bowling Green, they can acquire the same kind of high quality education, low cost It's a public education here at the Owensboro campus," Marylin Brookman said.

The economic impact of a university in a community is far reaching, attracting businesses and bringing jobs.

"It will provide us the opportunity to create a synergy for young students to be in the community and to look at this as an option for public higher education in the future," Nick Brake said.

"This community is serious about higher education we have to be in order to compete in a global world in order to be vital and to be progressive," Haire said.

According to Haire, eight to 10 years, he hopes to see 10,000 students between the Owensboro Community and Technical College and WKU's extension which will be built across the street.

Coming up in part two of "Growing Western", we'll take a look at higher education in Kentucky and how it impacts the state as a whole.