Francis Marion Univ. expands into Lowcountry

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Francis Marion University is extending its reach into the Lowcounty. Trustees voted on Friday, to add a satellite school near Charleston. That was a decision FMU Board members had been working out for more than six months. The new facility going in the Mount Pleasant area will be the first satellite campus for the school.

"That invitation involved taking some academic programs to Mount Pleasant in possibly the next year or so," said Richard Chapman, Francis Marion University.

It was that invitation, trustee board members at FMU decided to accept today.

"You know traditionally we have been in Florence, and certainly it will continue that 95 percent of our students are from this area, and I want everybody to understand that we're not going to do anything to distract from that," said Dr. Randy Dozier, Francis Marion University.

FMU Board members say the opening of a Mount Pleasant Satellite campus will allow FMU to make an even greater impact on people across the state.

"Over a period of time there will be a transition period. We will start with some initial programs and hopefully it will grow and have enough interest," said Chapman.

FMU administration says for now a nursing program will be offered at the Mount Pleasant Campus.

"Likely we will grow over the next seven to eight years to as many as five programs down there,"said Dr. Fred Carter.

There are nearly 3,000 nursing students in the Mount Pleasant area that will be able to express interest in the new program FMU will soon bring to the area.

"One of the wonderful things the community and the town of Mount Pleasant have agreed to do is provide is facilities," said Dr. Carter

FMU president Dr. Fred Carter says the Town of Mount Pleasant is only going to charge FMU one dollar per year to house the FMU satellite campus. Since details are still being worked out, it's not clear if a current building will be rehabilitated or if a new facility will be built.

FMU officials say they are excited to extend the FMU education across the state, but Florence will always be the home of FMU

"This is where our heart is, and this is where are head is. But the ability to go into a market like Mount Pleasant allows us to serve our students here even better," said Dr. Carter.

The Mount Pleasant campus expected to open within the next 12 months.

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