In late August, Mercyhurst president Michael T. Victor made a large announcement.
He announced that the Mercyhurst North East campus would be moving most of its programs to the main campus over the next two years.
In many ways, this move makes sense.
A good deal of the students who go to Mercyhurst North East have to take the lengthy commute there.
Victor announced that around 90 percent of the students in the health care program are commuting from Erie.
On a safety level, it also makes lots of sense.
Erie does have more hospitals and provides more healthcare services than North East, PA.
While I can see the benefits to this shift, I also have some concerns.
As a commuter student, I worry about parking.
Our main campus already has parking issues.
I worry that this sudden influx of students will worsen the situation.
Back in 2011, we already had around 4300 students attending Mercyhurst on all campuses.
Over 500 students will be transferring from North East to main campus.
Will we really have the infrastructure and facilities to support this?
There are plans to do some renovating around campus to support this change.
Although, it seems as though there is always an expensive project happening at our main campus.
From what I have seen, parking accommodations have not been included in these plans.
Will these renovations be enough, and will construction disrupt classes?
The negative economic effect on North East, PA is also a tragic effect of this decision.
Over 150 jobs will be leaving for the City of Erie.
They will also miss the students who stimulated their local businesses.
North East is a fairly small town, so this loss may devastate the community.
The town fought hard to see our North East campus stay there, and officials are upset to see it leave.
Mercyhurst North East is also located in the former St. Mary’s Seminary.
The buildings and grounds there are beautiful.
Mercyhurst currently plans to sell off the grounds to a private business.
I am concerned that a private business or entity will not preserve or utilize these facilities properly.
What if the land is purchased and the beautiful buildings are demolished?
It would be a massive shame to lose these many historic buildings.
Overall, I think this shift will be beneficial.
I know commuters from Erie who have to drive all the way to North East every day for their classes.
In the harsh Erie winters, this can be a tiring trip.
It also makes sense to keep these students in Erie closer to more hospitals and healthcare facilities.
I hope our main campus is ready to take on all these new students and I hope North East, PA is able to survive this economic hit.