The University Center, located at the former Hennessey Hall campus on San Jose Drive, will get a grand opening from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 5.


The Rural Education and Workforce Alliance announced the ribbon-cutting ceremony, as well as the expansion of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.


According to REWA, the KLETC will permanently move into the University Center to provide law enforcement training for the western Kansas region.


"We are excited to be working with the universities to provide a hybrid delivery of classes to meet the workforce needs," said Kyla Keller, REWA coordinator. "We look forward to partnering with more universities to fill the workforce gaps in southwest Kansas."


In March of this year, after a two-year plan, the University Center was given the green light and began enrolling students for the fall.


The University Center refers to any program that is not offered in area community colleges and not medical school.


According to Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation executive director Joann Knight, they have been working with several universities to bring in higher degrees and certifications that complement the five regional community colleges and meet the region’s workforce needs.


"The programs are designed for students with their associate degrees already offered through area community colleges and the working adult that desires to further their professional education," Keller said.


According to Keller, guest speakers for the grand opening will feature Dodge City Mayor Joyce Warshaw; Ford County Commission Chairman Chris Boys; assistant city manager Melissa McCoy; Knight; Sen. Bud Estes; Darin Beck, executive director of University of Kansas’ Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center; Tanya Smith, associate professor/assistant chair for the Department of Nursing at Fort Hays State University; Timothy Davis, chairman of the Department of Social Work; and Katie Eisenhour, executive director of the Scott County Development Committee.


Keller said the University Center will launch the Master of Social Work RN to BSN programs from FHSU in August.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com