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USCL playes vital role in future of county

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By The Staff

Some people believe Lancaster’s future is as a college town. One of them is Dr. John Catalano, dean at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster. He’s working to increase the size of USCL, which he believes will help transform Lancaster into a college town.

The first step in expanding USCL is an $8 million classroom building, which the college hopes to break ground on within two years.

The university is in the middle of a fundraising campaign for the new building and other improvements. It has already raised $3.1 million – $2.7 million of which will go toward the new classroom building.

There are also talks of building dorms and turning the two-year institution into a four-year one. All this will require planning, time, commitment and, yes, money.

Catalano recently asked for and received a commitment from Lancaster County Council on the monetary front. He asked for a resolution from County Council supporting raising the local tax rate that goes to USCL by 1 mill. The tax rate is now 3.4 mills. The extra educational mill equals about $4 on a $100,000 house, which would generate about $237,500 per year. The estimated operating costs of the new building will be $900,000 annually.

Council members expressed strong endorsement of the idea. And recently they passed a resolution supporting the idea, thereby agreeing in principle to help USCL with the extra tax money. When the new classroom building is complete, council will have to come back and make a formal commitment to the tax hike.

We support the measure council approved. The extra taxes are a small price to pay to help USCL grow.

Like Catalano and County Council members, we believe in USCL. It’s profoundly beneficial to our community and we’re proud to have it here.

You can also count us among those who believe that Lancaster’s future is as a college town. A bigger USCL will mean both more students and more professors for our community.

It will mean more students coming from outside the county to live, at least while they’re in college. It will mean more small businesses that cater to them.

We also believe a bigger USCL could lead to more educational opportunities for our own residents, as we hope it will help attract companies to the area with job opportunities for our residents.

In the last century, Lancaster was a textile town, but that day has gone with the wind.

So far in the 21st century, Lancaster hasn’t found a new identity, but we believe the USCL and community leaders who are working to make Lancaster a college town are on the right track.

Let’s do what we need to do to stay on that track.