The StarTribune reports that the town of Chaska, Minnesota, is planning for a new higher education campus, built by an outfit called “EdCampus.” What makes the site unique is that it is being built without a sole tenant in mind:
The company plans to erect classrooms as shells, line up higher education institutions as tenants to fill them, then customize the rooms for satellite classes or lectures offered by as many colleges and universities as it can line up.
“They could lease space to anyone from Harvard to North Dakota State,” Chaska Mayor Gary Van Eyll said.
According to the Mayor of Chaska:
EdCampus located in Chaska. It is hard to explain this facility. It will be an innovational educational model that leverages the power of combining dynamic students from diverse institutions into a single campus – outfitted with customizable classroom space and student-centric services.
EdCampus will offer state-of-the-art technology, never seen before in post-secondary education.
Since secondary education institutions develop a tremendous amount of educational technologies, I’m not sure what technologies have never been seen before in post-secondary education. (Also, does this high tech EdCampus have a website?) The real innovation, however, is that such a “campus” concept allows higher education institutions to create a presence in a community without outlaying a huge investment. Some institutions may wish to try certain communities/markets before making a large investment in facilities. Others will appreciate the pathways for rapid egress afforded by lease arrangements.
What does this ability to enter and exit new markets rapidly mean for land grant universities, which are intended to create lasting presences in the communities they serve?