Missouri Western’s downtown campus was granted one year of free rent by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in order to keep Western there for at least another year while they search for more tenants.
By receiving this grant from the Scottish Rite, Western is saving nearly $50,000. Before the grant was issued, Western was poised to close the downtown campus and move the classes back to the main campus.
With even more budget cuts by the State of Missouri, Western may still be forced to move the classes back to Western’s main campus in the future.
Gordon Mapley, dean of western institute, stated that even though Western received one year of free rent, there is still a lot of other cost involved in keeping the downtown campus open.
“We [Western] still have to pay the utilities at the downtown campus,” Mapley said. “They cost almost $50,000 per year.”
Mapley said that the Western Institute really wants to keep the downtown campus open. Mapley said that the Scottish Rite is trying to get more tenants to use their building downtown so that Western is not forced to pay all the utilities themselves.
“We like the downtown campus a lot, but if it doesn’t make sense financially, then we will move the classes back here [Western’s main campus],” Mapley said. “It will be a headache finding room for all the classes, but we can make it work if we need to.”
Western moved into the Scottish Rite building downtown because they wanted a community presence downtown. The building is very large and is home to Western’s Law Enforcement Academy, several non-credit classes and a few credit classes. The building boasts a beautiful 300 seat auditorium, a large cafeteria and several conference rooms.
Martha Greer, director of community arts, said that she enjoys the downtown campus very much and would like to stay their if possible but understands if finances forces them to move.
Greer stated that seniors are the majority of the students at the downtown campus and the location is very convenient to them.
“Parking here is great because you do not have to walk very far,” Greer said. “The location here is very convenient to a lot of people.”
This may not seem like a big deal to some, but for a senior citizen, walking across Western’s large campus could be a real problem if the downtown campus closes.
Greer also emphasized that classes at the downtown campus continue to grow. Greer hopes that the increasing enrollment might play a role in keeping the campus open downtown.
If the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry cannot find more tenants for their building downtown, they can expect Western to move from their building in the near future.
If the Downtown campus closes, Western’s main campus will not be affected too much. Classrooms and classes may have to be moved around a little bit. The only serious problem that could present itself is the already annoying shortage of parking.