Our View: Growth continues at HPU

Apr. 04, 2013 @ 03:46 AM

With its recent announcement of plans for a health sciences facility, High Point University is continuing its phenomenal growth, but this time it’s more so up than out.
On March 14, HPU President Nido Qubein unveiled the university’s plans to construct a 170,000-square-foot building to house the school’s new programs in pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies. Plans also call for moving some health sciences classes currently operated in the old Circuit City building at Oak Hollow Mall to the new facility, if it makes fiscal sense.
That health sciences building will be located at the corner of East Farriss Avenue and Panther Drive. It will be built on land the university has acquired during the past couple of years, but this new construction project won’t involve additional expansion of the HPU campus. In fact, Qubein, in responding to questions, indicated that the university’s days of geographical growth are over.
“We are using our last major parcel of land,” Qubein said. “We don’t have any interest in purchasing more land. We’re comfortable with the size we are. We never wanted to be a 10,000-student or 20,000-student school. ... We’ll be a 5,000-student school, and we like that.”
With around 4,500 students now and the addition of these new programs and facilities, reaching that 5,000-student level — which Qubein and others identified several years ago as the optimal-size student body for the university — won’t be hard to reach. With the past and expected future growth of the health-care industry, HPU’s health sciences programs should flourish.
Additionally, there’s the economic impact of this new facility, as attested to by Loren Hill, president of the High Point Economic Development Corp. The new facility, and the university’s presence in general, is a great selling tool in recruiting business and industry to the city, he said.
A few years ago, when Qubein and HPU announced its long-range plans for this health sciences building, we suggested at the time that constructing such a facility in High Point’s downtown area near expanded High Point Regional Health System facilities might provide a boost to downtown redevelopment efforts. Qubein told us at the time that he liked that idea. But unfortunately, he later told us that little interest had been shown by others.
So, we now are going to have, after construction begins in 2015, a fine new health sciences facility on the campus of High Point University that will continue to add to the university’s attraction and stature. High Point’s university keeps growing.