A new initiative by Mary Baldwin College will prepare students for high-demand careers in health care. The move means dozens of new teaching jobs, and a roughly $20 million investment for the Staunton college.
But one big question remains. Mary Baldwin needs at least 45,000 square feet for the health-sciences program. But there's no space on its downtown campus, so it's looking at 15 potential sites in Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County for the expansion.
Friday, the Mary Baldwin College Board of Trustees voted to create three new graduate programs, in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and physician assistance. Mary Baldwin says jobs in those fields are expected to grow 27 to 39 percent over the next decade. The first students would start in just under three years and enrollment would eventually reach 300.
Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox said, "I'm really passionate that this is central to the ethos of Mary Baldwin. First of all, we're strong in liberal arts and sciences. But it's also about leadership, it's about service, it's about a people-centered environment. All of these careers mesh into that very nicely."
The expansion is largely fueled by a pledge of $15 million, the largest single gift in Mary Baldwin's history. The college says it will need to hire about 50 faculty and staff members, with a total payroll of roughly $4.5 million. Mary Baldwin plans to choose a site for the new program in February.