On Thursday evening, business, education, and civic leaders from both sides of the state line joined to celebrate the grand opening of Park University’s Lenexa Campus Center located at the new Lenexa City Center.
The sleek, modern campus is the educational keystone in the city’s long-term strategic plan, Vision 2020, which was originally conceived and approved 20 years ago.
“This community has worked for decades to fulfill this vision and make it possible,” said Mayor Michael Boehm, speaking to guests at Thursday’s celebration. “Park is an important part of the vision, and this campus is the achievement of a milestone for Lenexa’s citizen-centered future. We now have a well-respected educational leader who has joined us on this journey.”
In 2014, Park University and the City of Lenexa began discussions about a partnership to develop this new campus center. According to Erik Bergrud, Park’s associate vice president for external relations, Lenexa was looking for an educational partner, while Park was interested in expanding in the metro where they believed their presence could make the greatest difference.
“We believe education transforms lives. With this campus, we can build more bridges to students and provide access to quality education, so they can achieve their potential.”
Located in Parkville, Park’s flagship campus opened in 1875. During the past 40 years, the university has been developing and opening campus centers across the United States. Lenexa marks the 41st center. Thirty-three are located on military bases. According to Lenexa’s Campus Director Mya Lawrence, the campus centers are more focused on adult education.
Metro area students can come to class after work and also complete courses online, she points out.
With classes beginning on Aug. 14, Park’s Lenexa Campus Center will offer undergraduate and graduate programs in business, public and healthcare administration, along with crimina justice and accounting. Courses in every discipline will be offered on-site, online, or as a blended version of both.
The campus also includes an innovative educational experience with the Pirate Patch classroom. Named in honor of the university’s mascot, the Pirate Patch room allows students an opportunity to patch-in remotely and fully participate with students and professors in live classes being offered at the university’s 40 other campus centers.
For Thursday’s celebration, the new campus was temporarily transformed into a series of international cafes. Guests visited various classrooms and enjoyed food and drink from the array of vendors who operate eateries at the new Lenexa Public Market.