A plan revealed last week to establish a second campus of Westminster College next year in Mesa, Ariz., has moved a step closer.
By a unanimous vote, the Mesa City Council Thursday approved a memoramdum of understanding between the city and Westminster to establish a branch campus of Westminster in a city-owned building in downtown Mesa.
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said the goal is to negotiate a five-year lease with Westminster to use the building as a Westminster campus with classes starting in the fall of next year.
Smith praised Westminster as an "institution with tremendous academic reputation and tradition."
"Much more work lies ahead but we look forward to the educational offerings Westminster will offer to students in Mesa, the valley and beyond," Smith said.
The memorandum is a non-binding document intended to establish a period of exclusive negotiations between the city of Mesa and Westminster College to start classroom instruction at the Mesa Center for Higher Education building at 245 W. 2nd St. in Mesa. The building was occupied previously as the Mesa City Court building.
The city also plans to persuade one or two other institutions of higher learning to establish branch campuses in the center.
Barney Forsythe, Westminster president, said he is pleased that the Mesa City Council has recognized the mutual advantages and growth opportunities for Mesa and Westminster.
"Now we are ready," Forsythe said, "to move forward with the planning process in order to bring the same unique educational experience and academic experience to our Mesa students that we have been providing for students on our Fulton campus for more than 160 years."