By: Josh Cross (Tennessean)
As Welch College prepares to begin holding classes at its new campus in Gallatin next month, plans to increase the school’s educational opportunities for high school students and adults are already underway.
During a welcome reception held Friday at Gallatin City Hall, school officials announced plans to offer dual-enrollment courses for Station Camp High School students in addition to relaunching an adult studies program for working adults who never completed their degree.
Welch also plans to partner with Volunteer State Community College and has been in discussions with Union University and Sumner Regional Medical Center regarding the development of a program aimed at increasing the number of nurses in the community.
“We are an institution that intends to be a part of this community and to affect this community in profound ways,” Welch President Matt Pinson said Friday. “Over these next few weeks we intend to open the new campus and begin to express to this community what we’ve been doing in Nashville for the last 75 years – a mission… not only of academic excellence but of spiritual commitment and of traditional moral values.”
Students began taking online classes earlier this month until the college’s new campus, located just north of Station Camp High School between Bison Trail and the Stone Creek subdivision, is complete.
The first phase of the new campus will include an administration building, separate male and female dormitories as well as a cafeteria/multipurpose building. A gymnasium/student activities center is expected to be completed this summer.
“What Welch College is bringing to our city is much, much more than buildings and a business,” Mayor Paige Brown told those in attendance Friday. “This school is going to enhance our culture, our vibrancy and our character, which makes this great institution one of the most exciting additions that Gallatin has ever realized. Our small city will not only have a wonderful comprehensive community college but also a four-year residential college.”
Established in 1942, the regionally and nationally accredited four-year Christian school offers 40 majors with its top programs including theological studies, pre-med/nursing, business, teacher education and music. Welch has approximately 400 students enrolled annually who take part in 10,000 total hours of community service work each year.
In September, Welch and three other Free Will Baptist ministries purchased an additional 64 acres adjacent to the college’s new campus in Gallatin. The deal came one year after Mike Ford Custom Builders purchased 7.14 acres of Welch’s 7.6-acre West End Avenue property in Nashville for $11.25 million.
The school and associated Free Will Baptist groups now own all of the property along the northern stretch of Bison Trail between Lower Station Camp Creek Road and Big Station Camp Boulevard across from the Station Camp schools complex.
“I consider this a monumental addition to our county,” Sumner County Executive Anthony Holt said. “We actively pursue new (higher education) opportunities for our citizens. That’s what it’s all about.”
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