Published: December 22, 2008
A policy change by Williamsburg-James City County Schools earlier this year means it would have to charge Thomas Nelson Community College about $10,000 to hold evening classes at Warhill High School in the spring semester.
Instead, the community college is opting to hold more of its Historic Triangle campus classes at the College of William and Mary, where it already holds some classes and the space is free.
“In today’s fiscal situation, we didn’t think it was appropriate use of the college’s money when we had options,” said William Travis, provost of the Historic Triangle campus.
He said the community college was notified in September that the school system would begin charging them rent, based on a new School Board policy that requires a fee to be paid by groups outside of the school system and city government that use school facilities after 6 p.m. and on weekends.
The new policy was passed following a lawsuit against W-JCC schools by the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Virginia, in which a judge ruled it was unlawful to charge a Christian group to use a facility but waive fees for other organizations. Previously, the schools’ superintendent was given some discretion to decide which groups could use school space for free.
The TNCC classes previously taught at Warhill High will be held at William and Mary beginning Jan. 10, Travis said.
Students are already aware of the location changes, which appear in the schedule books for the upcoming semester, he said.
Holding evening classes at William and Mary isn’t unusual for Thomas Nelson, which has been using space at the university for years since the Historic Triangle campus outgrew its former home on John Jefferson Road in James City County, Travis said.
Last semester, the community college held 11 classes at William and Mary, Travis said.
“We’ve always had to deliver evening classes off site because there is not enough room in the space that we lease,” Travis said. “We’re both public institutions and that’s an agreement we have among each other as long as the space isn’t needed or being occupied at the time of use.”
He said he likes the idea of Thomas Nelson students having classes at William and Mary because it allows them to see what a four-year university is like.
For that reason, Travis said the college might continue to hold some evening classes at William and Mary when the new Historic Triangle campus site, which is being built near Warhill High School on Opportunity Way, opens in summer 2009.
“We definitely want to fill our building,” Travis said. “But there’s still a real advantage and benefit of getting students acclimated to a four-year university.”
Thomas Nelson Community College classes formerly held at Warhill High School will move to the campus of the College of William and Mary beginning Jan. 10.
|Category: General News||Tags: classes, william & mary, williamsburg|