DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - Cameron University students in and around Stephens County will soon be able to take science courses at the CU-Duncan Campus, thanks to a federal grant triggering an influx of funding.
The university learned on Wednesday they'd received 850,000 dollars from the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. That money is being matched dollar-for-dollar by Duncan Regional Hospital, along with 200,000 dollars each from two local foundations, bringing the total to just over two million dollars.
Rather than spend that money on a new building, Cameron University President Dr. John McArthur said the school plans to renovate a part of the CU-Duncan campus' building once used by the Red River Technology Center. The university will turn those empty rooms into labs and classrooms for the science courses that will soon be offered.
"We're ready to see some good news in Southwest Oklahoma and I think is great news," Dr. McArthur said.
The administration has been working for years to get science classes and labs offered at CU-Duncan --- and Wednesday's announcement makes that a reality.
Dr. McArthur said offering science classes will help them better serve students in Stephens County who aren't able to make the drive to Lawton.
"The access to this at Cameron University-Duncan with follow-up educational opportunities at Duncan Regional Hospital," Dr. McArthur said. "I think that's going to make all the difference for literally hundreds of students over the course of the next few years."
Dr. McArthur says the state doesn't have enough health care workers, and he believes that by offering science courses in Duncan it will give the area the opportunity for more health care professionals.
"Generations of nursing students are going to be able to continue their education right there, in Duncan...get great Cameron degree, move straight from there into a partner program whether that's the University of Oklahoma or OKC University for a nursing degree and then hopefully go to work at Duncan regional hospital. I think it's going to be great for Stephens County," Dr. McArthur said.
He hopes to have the science classes and labs ready for CU-Duncan students by the fall semester but if they can't meet that deadline they want to have them by spring 2018.