WILMINGTON — At his Meet-and-Greet with Clinton County commissioners, the new Wilmington College president made it clear he hopes there will be further conversations about potential opportunities for the college and the community, of which it is a part, to be allied.
Commissioners invited Dr. Trevor Bates, who became WC president in January, to their Wednesday session as a way to get to know each other, said Clinton County Commissioners President Mike McCarty. Bates indicated he never turns down an offer from public officials to converse.
“Because I think that even though we’re private [a private college] and this [board of commissioners] is a public entity, it’s still just one community. So I guess I don’t see the division from that angle. I see it as we’re all living here, we’re drinking the same water,” said Bates.
He said he’s interested in learning more, because of the proximity to the college campus, about the Sugartree corridor project that seeks to make a part of Sugartree Street downtown into more of an entertainment district. Bates said he loves the idea of a corridor for students to go to the downtown.
One matter of possible common interest between the college and community relates to housing, said the WC president. The college needs to make some changes on its housing such as some different options.
“We’re starting a graduate program, so some of our needs for housing are changing,” Bates said.
The college also wants to attract full-time faculty and staff to live in the local area. Accordingly, the housing options and the perceptions of food and dining and the like are also important, and that’s why his reading a little bit about the Sugartree corridor project made him curious to know more about it, he said.
Bates shared with commissioners that he has a personal interest in the aspects and circumstances of aging.
Some of his early research and experience in that area had a focus upon “aging communities and their connection to the places they live,” he informed the commissioners. He told them he thinks there may be some opportunities with that going forward.
As the Meet-and-Greet drew to a close, Bates said he likes to think about next steps and move conversations on to corners of common interest. He then offered to send information about the college’s strategic planning to the commissioners as an avenue toward endeavors that perhaps college and community can partner on.
Bates said he would love it if commissioners looked at the strategic planning and saw whether there might be segments in it where they or the county already has got something going, and which the college may want to know about.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.