Wingate campus says goodbye to Matthews

After 22 years in Matthews, professors and staff at the local Wingate University satellite campus packed up their offices this week and took a short trip down Interstate 485 to their new home in Ballantyne.

Classes begin Monday, Aug. 26, at Wingate’s new campus in southern Mecklenburg County. The school is moving its masters in business administration, graduate programs in sports management and education, an undergraduate program for working adults and other professional and continuing education offerings to the Ballantyne Corporate Park off Johnston Road in Charlotte.

The move means the end of Wingate classes in Matthews, with university officials saying they now have enough room and resources in Ballantyne for the current programs and any future expansion. There previously had been plans to expand the programs in Matthews, but Ballantyne offers more space, room to grow and better parking options. The campus is already at 13,600 square feet with 10 classrooms, a computer lab and more administrative offices.

The school had planned to build a new campus off East John Street near I-485 as part of the planned Wingate Commons mixed-use development. The school purchased 9 acres for the new campus, which it now will likely sell.

Expansion at the Ballantyne campus could be coming sooner rather than later as the programs grow. Jeff Atkinson, director of marketing and communications for Wingate, said he’s already heard from some staff that they’d like more space at their new campus. That being said, “we’re very happy with the accommodations that (corporate park manager) Bissell Companies has done,” Atkinson said. “The facility is fantastic… we can’t wait to get started.”

The corporate park also offers a number of connections for the university’s masters in business administration program due to the more than 250 companies located there – including MetLife and SPX – that weren’t available in Matthews.

Professors and administration could be seen this week moving into their offices in Ballantyne’s Harris Building, while crews put the final touches on classrooms and technology that will be used to broadcast classes to the school’s home campus in Wingate and additional satellite campus in Hendersonville.

“The new campus gives us a little better access to technology,” assistant professor Cindy Compton said Wednesday, Aug. 21, while unloading books in her new office. Compton teaches graduate education and is a capstone liaison and coordinator. “It’s important that we teach the 21st century learner for jobs that don’t exist yet. So the more we can incorporate 21st century ideas, concepts and technology, the better they will be able to lead that 21st century learning.”

The new campus will host an open house for registered students on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. A public open house will be held sometime in September. Around 600 students will attend the new campus.

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