Earlier this month, the American Public University System (APUS) celebrated the start of a $100 million project aimed at community revitalization for the communities of Charles Town and Ranson, West Virginia.
APUS includes both American Military University (AMU) and American Public University, and the system provides distance learning programs for more than 100,000 students around the world. APUS has more than 90 online courses of study, including national security, military studies and business administration. Its programs are exclusively online and approximately 58 percent of the student body is active-duty military. Because so many students are active military and many others are working adults, courses are offered on a rolling basis with monthly class starts, so students can schedule around other commitments.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the most recent round of community revitalization projects consists of a new APUS technology and multi-purpose center, a $10 million improvement of two major streets in the towns into “green corridors,” a $16 million mixed-use space and $14 million retail entertainment complex in Ranson, and a $4 million restoration of historic Charles Washington Hall in Charles Town.
Previously, APUS invested almost $55 million in local construction and renovation projects in Ranson and Charles Town, the closely-knit towns where APUS’s headquarters is located.
“Our core mission is to expand access to quality, affordable education while supporting the economic and environmental livelihood of our local communities, and beyond,” said APUS President & CEO Wallace E. Boston. “We’re proud to partner with our local, state, and federal governments and other industry officials to make our planned campus expansion an anchor of this larger initiative, to the benefit of residents and business owners alike.”
West Virginia’s state government has also partnered with the towns and APUS for these projects and has been supportive of the efforts. This state support includes Housing and Urban Development financing and grant funding and project management for the Green Corridor roadway project.
“West Virginia is ready to invest in business and community revitalization, and we welcome this partnership with our public and private sector allies,” said West Virginia Governor Tomblin.
Despite this monetary support from the state, APUS does not receive state funding for higher education. Even so, APUS tuition has not increased in the past decade, and the price of an education within the system is 19 percent less for undergraduates and 33 percent less for graduate students than the average state tuition costs.
In addition to its commitment to serving the local community, APUS is also committed to environmentally friendly construction practices and refurbishing buildings to the LEED Silver Standard or higher.
“These projects demonstrate that small towns can dream big and accomplish big things by working with partners on sustainable community revitalization,” said Ranson Mayor Hamill.