On a hill overlooking Henderson sits a small state college on more than 500-acres of land with big dreams. Nevada State College opened for business more than a decade ago, but has struggled in the shadow of its bigger rivals UNLV and UNR.
“The concept in starting this state college back in 2002 was really to focus on professional degrees at a lower cost than the universities,” Bart Patterson, president of Nevada State College, told KNPR’s State of Nevada.
Patterson said NSC focuses on degrees in nursing, education, business, biology, psychology and criminal justice. He said they are all “degrees that have a real value going into the work field.”
That focus on preparing students for the workforce has led to the highest number of NSC graduates – 350 – to take part in a commencement ceremony in the college’s 13-year history. Patterson said NSC has almost 3,600 students.
The class of 2015 represents a 60 percent increase in NSC’s spring commencement ceremony last year, when 219 students accepted degrees.
“Two-thirds of our students are the first generation in their families to go to college,” Patterson told KNPR. “I’m very proud of that.”
With more students on campus this fall, NSC will debut two new buildings. The new Nursing Science and Education building, as well as the Rogers Student Center, will add 132,000 square feet of classroom, library and meeting space.
The college currently occupies just one 42,000-square-foot building on campus. Patterson told KNPR the new Rogers Student Center will give students a place to study and eat, which is a major change from the current situation on campus.
He said future plans call for more classrooms and office space, but the college is considering building dorms to house students on campus, and then in the distant future even considering adding an athletic program.
Patterson didn’t want to upset the board of regents, telling KNPR that any athletic program would be in the future.
While, Patterson plans for NSC’s future, he says the campus-carry bill, which would allow people with permits for a concealed weapon to bring their guns on campus, is “a complicated issue.”
“We’ve never wanted a college campus to have a culture of fear,” he said. “What the campus-carry bill does is that it creates this atmosphere between students and professors that anyone could be armed.”
Bart Patterson, president, Nevada State College
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.