We broke down and bought a cell phone last year for one reason: My wife had to drive by herself every Wednesday night to attend classes at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It's an hour each way from our home in Hudson to the campus, and the cell phone bought some peace of mind.
Like so many other teachers, my wife had to make the trip for recertification courses. The commute to USF is a dangerous inconvenience, one that soon may be eased if the university opens a satellite campus.
It appears the campus will be at the New Port Richey campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College, State Sen. Jack Latvala said Friday. And while that would still mean a commute for some, it would be an easy shot for students in the densely populated area between Spring Hill and Palm Harbor.
Latvala, the Palm Harbor Republican whose district includes western Pinellas and Pasco counties, introduced the idea, which officials of both educational institutions have embraced.
USF, which has four campuses, is motivated by projections of 16,000 new students during the coming decade. PHCC stands to benefit from improvements to its campus.
Latvala met last week with PHCC president Robert Judson, as he gathers information to take to the Legislature in the spring. There is space for a new building, the senator said, and PHCC would need an expanded library.
A task force has been studying the partnership and trying to determine who might enroll and what courses would best serve the community. Members plan to gather that information in a variety of ways and asked last week if the Times would help.
So we asked them to come up with questions, which you see below. The answers will be useful to the task force when it meets again Nov. 14, said member Ann Hildebrand, a Pasco County commissioner.
"We are plowing new ground here," she said. "It's exciting, but we need to get a sense of where we're going."
We will probably write a story from the results of this survey. If you wish, feel free to expand on the issue beyond the questions.
_ Bill Stevens is the editor of the North Suncoast editions of the Times.
Let us know what you think of USF plan
1. If there were a four-year college campus located near you, would you be more likely to go to college? Y N.
2. If you could take upper-level (junior and senior) college courses and graduate-level courses at a nearby location at a cost similar to that for courses at the University of South Florida's main campus, would you be interested? Upper-level Graduate-level.
3. Which courses would interest you? (Please check all that apply): Applied Sciences and Engineering; Business; Education; Fine Arts; Health; Liberal Arts; Physical Sciences; Social Sciences.
4. If you were to take courses at a nearby location and at a cost similar to that for courses at the University of South Florida's main campus, would you formally pursue a program leading to a bachelor's degree post-graduate degree life enhancement?
5. If you wished to take these courses, what time of day would be more convenient? Day Evening.
6. Would you utilize other student services, such as the bookstore, cafeteria or physical fitness center? Y N.
7. Would you regularly utilize fee-based child care services if they were available? Y N.
8. Would you be interested in taking Distance Learning classes via your home computer? Y N.
9. What ZIP code applies to your residence?
10. Please circle your age group: under 18; 18-34; 34-50; 50-65; over 65.
Please mail your response to Hernando Times, PHCC Survey, 161 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601. Faxes may be sent to (352) 754-6133.