Benedictine University announced Tuesday that it plans to close the Springfield campus and sell the land at the end of the 2018 spring semester. The campus, which has been a partner of Benedictine since 2003, is currently composed of graduate and adult-completion students.
“Although it was a difficult decision, the university’s leaders determined that the Springfield property will be put up for sale,” stated a press release issued by the university. “University leadership carefully considered the impact the decision to sell the Springfield property would have on students, employees, alumni, donors, and the community.”
President Michael Brophy stated Benedictine will work with Springfield campus students from March through May to transition them to other area sites. He also named the need for serious capital improvements at the location as one of the reasons for the decision.
“We had to ask ourselves how to best provide for our students who deserve to attend classes in accessible, comfortable, and equipped-for-teaching classrooms,” said Brophy. “That’s why we will continue to teach at community sites apart from the Springfield campus.”
The closing of the Springfield site will also bring personnel cutbacks according to Jan Kirby, Academic Director of Benedictine University at Springfield. The campus currently employs about 20 people according to Kelly Curtis, Press Relations Manager for the University.
“The announcement also brings with it the sad news that some employees will be displaced,” said Kirby. “Our faculty and staff are hard-working people who have dedicated their daily work to our students’ successes.”
The decision to cease operations has impacted the Lisle campus in different ways. Some people were appreciative of the effort given by their fellow Benedictine community members at the campus and are hopeful with the University’s plans.
“I am grateful for the effort and commitment given for many years by the people at the Springfield campus and we will have them in our prayers,” said current Dean of the College of Business Sandra Gill.
“The current conditions in higher education are creating these difficult decisions to be made, we are not alone in this enrollment and strategic challenge…I am confident that the President and the Board of Trustees has taken significant effort to address these challenges,” said Gill.
Students seemed to believe that the decision by the university was a financial decision.
“I think that probably we are in times of tighter budgeting,” said Senior Carlos Castillo, “The school in not doing as well financially, it’s definitely not unknown to us.”
“I think we can expect more belt-tightening across the board,” said Senior Kellen McCullum, “The University is just looking for ways to cut down the expense and students are feeling the pinch.”
“It was evident that the sale of the Springfield campus property will allow the University to invest in programs that benefit students enrolled at our Springfield-area sites, in Lisle, and in Mesa, Arizona. Benedictine University is committed to growing its enrollment and prioritizing its work to strengthen the University now and into the future,” stated the press release.
News Editor Jennifer Flores contributed to this article.