By B.C. Manion
Pasco and Hillsborough county college students will have another option next year, when Rasmussen College opens its Central Pasco Campus at SR 54 and Sunlake Boulevard.
The 25,000-square-foot building, now under construction, will offer both traditional and online courses. It is expected to open in July 2011.
The campus will offer bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs through the college’s schools of business, technology and design, nursing, justice studies, education and allied health.
The college pays close attention to what is happening in the marketplace, to ensure that its curriculum is relevant, said Claire Walker, campus president for the Pasco County campuses of Rasmussen College. It works with the community to prepare graduates to be ready to enter the work force, in fields where there is a demand.
The college deliberately selected the SR 54 location because of its convenient location. It is easily accessible from Interstate 75 and from the Suncoast Parkway, Walker said. It also will provide a straight shot into Hillsborough County when the Sunlake Boulevard extension is completed in future years.
The college also liked the location because it is close to a 72-acre site where T. Rowe Price plans to build an office complex that may one day employ up to 1,600 workers.
T. Rowe Price bought the site at the southwest corner of SR 54 and the planned extension of Sunlake Boulevard on July 1, 2009 for $13.5 million, said Brian Lewbart, spokesman for the investment management company, based in Baltimore, Md.
“We did purchase the property with an eye toward having that site for a future expansion in the Tampa area,” Lewbert said.
Economic conditions have put that plan in a holding pattern for now.
“The timeline for our expansion is not certain,” Lewbert said. The company initially would construct one or two buildings of 150,000 square feet and would have room to grow, he said.
The project would represent the first time the company owned land for an operation in Tampa, he added. The plan would be to shift employees working at its leased office space in Tampa to the Pasco site.
The college would like to establish a relationship with T. Rowe Price, Walker said, especially for students in its business programs.
Tuition for Rasmussen College ranges from $395 to $420 a credit hour, with programs requiring about 180 hours for completion, Walker said. Scholarships and financial aid are available for students who qualify, and the college attempts to work with students to help them arrange a schedule that accommodates work and family life.
Walker said she expects the new facility to open with a staff of about 10 people and to gradually add students and staff members. At full capacity, she expects it to have about 1,000 students and 50 to 60 staff members.
Besides opening the new facility, Rasmussen is moving its Rasmussen College West Pasco facility, now located in Holiday, to a new location in New Port Richey. It expects the New Port Richey facility to be open for students in January.
For additional information about the Rasmussen College, go to www.Rasmussen.edu.