LOCK HAVEN — An earlier plan to consider closing Lock Haven University’s Clearfield campus has been scrapped, according to a statement issued by the university on Tuesday.
In late August, it was learned that the campus could close after the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s governing board mulled a proposed merger of six of its 14 universities.
The initial focus consisted of combining Lock Haven University with Mansfield University, Slippery Rock University with Edinboro University, and California University with Clarion University.
At the time, Lock Haven University Spokeswoman Elizabeth Arnold confirmed that a possible closure of the Clearfield Campus was being considered as part of the proposed merger of Lock Haven University with Mansfield University.
However, in the final plan submitted on Sept. 4, closure of the Clearfield campus was removed as one of the solutions under review, according to a statement issued by LHU Spokeswoman Julie Stellfox.
“Instead, LHU is embarking on collaborative discussions with constituents from the Lock Haven and Clearfield campuses as well as the Clearfield community to innovate, ideate and explore actionable, sustainable means to strengthen the campus and balance revenue and expenditure,” the statement read.
“Local leaders and officials at Lock Haven University have been actively discussing plans to improve the financial position and support of its Clearfield campus and develop new pathways to grow enrollment in its service area for the future.”
At a recent meeting of stakeholders held at the Clearfield campus, three working groups comprised of university and community members were created to develop actionable plans that will keep and expand access to higher education in the region.
These working groups will focus on academic programming that serves the surrounding communities, marketing and recruiting outreach to surrounding school systems and industries and fundraising efforts to support academic programs and assist students with their education. These working groups will begin deliberations shortly and continue their work throughout the next year.
Clearfield County Commissioners, who in early September publicly stated their support to keep the local campus open, were pleased to hear the news.
“The Clearfield County Commissioners thank Lock Haven University for their vote of confidence in our area,” said Commissioners John Sobel, Tony Scotto and Dave Glass in a statement. “The university’s announcement this week — which removed the closure of the Clearfield campus from consideration — shows that our community remains an important part of LHU’s future.
“We look forward to working with the university’s leadership to ensure that LHU Clearfield remains a viable option for local students for many, many years to come,” the commissioners stated.
“Although the financial challenges that Lock Haven University and PASSHE face continue, Lock Haven’s commitment to, and confidence in, the Clearfield campus and community remains strong,” said Dr. Robert Pignatello, LHU president.
“Our commitment is to provide high quality, affordable educational opportunities for students of all ages in the surrounding community,” said Dr. Ron Darbeau, LHU provost. “The faculty and staff will continue to work with students to honor this commitment.”