When Dana College closed in Blair, community leaders feared the worst for the small town economy. Now comes promising news breathing life back into the campus.
A Dana College signs promotes the motto "where futures are defined,” but for the last three years there hasn't been any defining of any type because the college has been closed since 2010. At the time, city leaders were nervous. “The sales tax, we were really worried about that revenue going downhill when the students left because college students have money to spend,” said Mayor James Realph.
Through the silence of the vacant campus came voices of change finally being heard. Friday, Midland University out of Fremont announced its plan to take over the campus. “We've been blessed in Fremont just with kind of growing beyond our means, so looking at the next steps to expansion, it just made a ton of sense just to look here,” said Midland’s Jodi Benjamin.
In a small ceremony, keys to the campus were handed over. Before this college can reflect its old self, Midland is going to have to invest a good amount of time and money back on campus. They predict it will take at least $11 million. They call it the “Capitol Campaign.”
“The purpose of that money will be to offset some of the deferred maintenance and things that were needed here at Dana before it closed and then of course the things that have come about within the last three years, but also to deal with some of the start-up costs."
Midland hopes to have the campus up and running by 2015. They say the campus can currently hold just over 500 students.