‘We’re gaining momentum’: Demolition begins at proposed site for the University of Somerset
SOMERSET, Ky. (WYMT) - In October, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck announced a new university is coming to downtown Somerset.
“We can’t always loose our best and brightest to neighboring states and that starts with education. We want Somerset to be the only research institution private research institution in Kentucky,” said Keck who is also the board chair of the university.
Demolition has now begun at the proposed site for the university, the former Cundiff Square property.
“We’ve made a tremendous amount of progress over $10 million in real pledges and real estate pledges. We’ve also expanded our board and we’re really excited about that so the buy-in from the community has grown,” said Keck.
Keck says many thought the idea for the university was just a dream but they are making progress and even have a corporate sponsor on the project.
“I’ve challenged folks to think like pioneers not settlers and these sponsors are doing that,” said Keck.
The lease agreement for the property between the city and the university board has not yet been finalized, but Keck hopes that will be settled soon.
“I always picture the campus mall. I think it will be a special place where undergrads and grads decide to go and fellowship and I also hope the community will go and take great pride in the campus and accept it as their own,” said Keck.
The University of Somerset will offer a full spectrum of undergraduate degrees in arts and science as well as specialized programs such as artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.
“That’s the core of what we’re trying to do. We’re thinking about jobs that will be here in 20 years not jobs that were here 20 years ago,” said Keck.
Keck says he wants the university to teach people how to think, and not just what to think.
“I’m never going to apologize for conservatives or Christians but all walks of life to have a seat at the table. I think balance can be a beautiful thing and the more perspectives we hear from the more talented and balanced our kids will be,” said Keck.
Keck says the university would bring about 1,000 jobs and make an economic impact of more than $130 million.
He hopes the university will be open within three to five years.
Copyright 2021 WYMT. All rights reserved.