College moves into former JC Penney - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

College moves into former JC Penney

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

Mid-State Technical College in Stevens Point is moving into its new downtown location.

What used to be the JC Penney, in the former downtown mall, is now the school's new home.

School leaders say the renovations make the old mall unrecognizable.

The campus dean Steve Smith says the new campus, spans 525,000 square feet, which is about 16,000 square feet bigger than its old facility.

He says it houses more labs and student lounge areas.

"What we've really been able to do is focus on a student learning environment, where the students will prosper, they'll want to stay here," said Smith.

Crews are moving in boxes of equipment and the finishing the final touches

"We hope to be in at the end of the day on Monday," said Smith.

School leaders and city officials agree. They think not only the students will like the more centralized location, but also the community.

"To be able to repurpose what was a troubled facility into something that's become so special that brings 3000 people into our downtown," said Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson.

The mayor says the renovations and move cost about $6 million. He says that money came from the city, a state grant and the school.

"This is a tremendous investment in education, it's a tremendous investment in our downtown, but more than anything this is an investment in the future of central Wisconsin," said Halverson.

School staff say they can't wait to be in the new building

"Students that were graduating were happy to be graduating, but sad not to be taking classes in the new building," said Jon Steele, a marketing instructor. "The ones that are going to be taking classes are thrilled about the opportunity."

The dean says the campus will officially open on June 2.

The school will celebrate its grand opening on June 4 along with its 100-year anniversary.

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