by Dennis Dalman
In slightly less than one year, Sartell will be the site of a College of St. Scholastica campus.
Ground was broken Oct. 8 for a building that will house the college, as well as two other clients, as yet unnamed. The construction is a project by Strack Construction of St. Cloud, which has a tenant lease agreement with CSS. The building will be constructed at 137 23rd Ave. S. just north of Highway 15 beyond the McDonald’s area.
Also on Oct. 8, there were celebrations at CSS campuses statewide because the CSS parent campus in Duluth was founded 100 years ago this year. The other campuses are in St. Paul, Brainerd, Rochester and St. Cloud. The latter is the one that will be moving to Sartell and is expected to open there in September 2013.
The St. Cloud campus of CSS was founded 10 years ago. It has experienced growing pains since 2009, and space for programming was getting tight, said Rick Butte, director of the St. Cloud site. At first, CSS had considered moving into some retrofitted building if one could be found. But then Strack Construction came up with what seems like an ideal arrangement. It will construct the building in Sartell, and CSS will be a renter.
Butte is happy about that arrangement because it makes it affordable for CSS. Butte also said Bob Strack, owner of the construction company, is very keen about the importance of educational programs and will design the building with CSS’s needs in mind.
Another big plus about the new location, Butte added, is CSS will be located very near the thriving medical campus in Sartell, which has become a virtual medical-arts hub of central Minnesota. There will be some mutually advantageous connections between the school, its faculty, students and those medical facilities, Butte predicted. For one thing, CSS is widely known for its excellent nursing and health-information services programs for both undergraduates and graduates.
One of CSS’s major goals is to help improve health care in rural areas by reaching its programs into those areas and hopefully providing medical personnel who want to work in rural areas. To that effect, CSS was awarded a major Robert Wood Johnson grant, which allowed the college to expand its facilities, making a new building all the more urgent. In 2011, for example, CSS added two new nursing programs.
All of the CSS campuses offer an extensive online programs so students far and wide and earn degrees without hardly ever visiting the campuses in person. On its five campuses, CSS had a total enrollment of 4,014 in 2011, including students in 34 states and six foreign countries. CSS is a private college affiliated with the Catholic Benedictine tradition.
The St. Cloud site has about 125 graduate and undergraduate students who come for classes at the campus, but there are many more taking courses online.
Thanks to sophisticated technology, students can not only do coursework online, but they have all kinds of other connective potential, such as interactive TV and even “telemedicine” that allows them to communicate directly with hospitals and clinics and the experts who work at them. Some CSS faculty, in fact, tech mainly online, and others are on-campus for labs at CSS where, in the medical labs, for instance, there are programmable mannequins through which a complex series of learning sessions can be taught.
The space in the new building will be about twice as much as CSS now has in the St. Cloud facility.
The following undergraduate courses and degree programs are available at CSS: accounting, management, marketing, organizational behaviors, computer science, computer information systems, health-information management, online nursing and social work. CSS also offers the following graduate programs: nursing practice, teaching licensure, master of business, master of education, masters in health-information management and post-baccalaureate nursing.