The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Dr. Jennifer Braaten
Friday, June 22, 2012
By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer
A new study shows that Ferrum College generates more than $93 million in direct and indirect economic impact annually in the region.
That was the message delivered to the Franklin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon by Ferrum College President Jennifer Braaten and Kim Blair, the college's vice president of institutional advancement.
"We are a valuable player in the region," Blair said, highlighting the college's economic impact in many areas, from employment to visitation to philanthropy.
The data was compiled by an economic benefit consultant using a series of surveys and modeling formulae.
Results showed that employment of almost 500 at the college gives the largest boost to the economy, with direct and indirect benefits at more than $23 million a year.
Other large categories include capital expenditures from the college's investments in infrastructure at $28 million; revenue from grants, gifts, tuition and other sources, $16 million; and direct spending locally, $11.8 million.
The college has built new dorms in recent years as well as the new Hank Norton Athletic Center, Blair said.
The college used local contractors for the work, including Mod-U-Kraf, in an effort to boost the local economy, Braaten added.
"We want to keep the dollars here," she said, adding that students and their families spend locally as well.
"The students come and the families come, and we know they spend money," she said, pointing out the construction of a new Dollar General in Ferrum and the current expansion of Dairy Queen.
And more and more students are coming. Enrollment has skyrocketed since Braaten took over the college's reigns 10 years ago, from 950 to more than 1,500 this past year.
"We are excited about that (1,500 enrollment) milestone," Blair said.
Ferrum College students "love it here," not only for the natural beauty of the area but for the people as well," Braaten said. "People here are friendly. Students feel welcome here."
Some buy property and relocate here, she added.
Next year, 2013, will be the start of the college's centennial celebration with the 2013-14 academic year marking 100 years for the school.
That celebration will include the county, Braaten said.
"We are great partners as we continue to grow with the county," she said. "It takes all of us to make it work."