Regent Holds Town Hall on Strategic Growth
| February 19, 2013
As an integral part of the community, Regent University has been a major player in the City of Virginia Beach Strategic Growth Area (SGA) planning process. On Monday, Feb. 18, President Carlos Campo hosted the university's first town hall meeting for local residents to learn more about Regent's campus growth plans.
"Regent has been and continues to be a great community partner," President Campo told the audience, as he reviewed information from Regent's Community Impact Study that measures the university's significant economic and cultural impact in the region. "This planning process is a two-way street, and we want and need to hear back from you."
Joining President Campo for the discussion was Dr. Robert "Bobby" Dyer, who represents the Centerville District on Virginia Beach City Council. Dyer is also a professor in Regent's Robertson School of Government. The Centerville SGA, where Regent is located, is the last of eight areas that Virginia Beach has addressed for growth and revitalization efforts.
"Centerville is part of what makes Virginia Beach a community for a lifetime," Dyer said. "I commend our residents because we've had the highest attendance of all the city's SGA meetings. We believe in civic engagement, and our citizens are engaged."
In studying the Centerville SGA and meeting with constituents, city planners recognized Regent University's value to the community and included a potential "academic village" in the SGA master development plan, which was unanimously approved by the city's Planning Commission and is being reviewed by City Council. The plan does not mandate any particular development, but instead, offers guidelines for how development can proceed to benefit residents and businesses, as well as integrate with nearby areas.
"Virginia Beach has always wanted a four-year university, and we have one right here, with Regent, that's a vital part of our community," Dyer said.
At this time, Regent has no definite plan for expanding campus facilities, President Campo said. He noted that the university is nearing completion on a major construction project—the new Chapel and academic building housing the School of Divinity, which will also serve as the campus Welcome Center. These buildings will open in March.
"We're working toward developing our priorities," President Campo explained. "As our campus expands, we're planning to increase enrollment to about 1000 resident undergraduate students. We will be able to accommodate them with our existing housing, but we may need to expand our Student Center.
"Also, students are looking for open space where they can congregate and enjoy the university experience outdoors," he continued. "We'll be looking strategically at how we might clear some land for athletic fields and other amenities. You'll be hearing more from us as we develop these plans."
Regent's Town Hall meeting served as another venue for the community to come together to raise and discuss issues. Residents from several neighborhoods near the campus attended the meeting and asked questions about Regent and also about other concerns affecting the region, such as traffic congestion and environmental impacts.
"We want this conversation to continue," President Campo said in conclusion. "We believe that our success depends on this community. We feel that Regent is a great asset already, and we want to be even better."
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888
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