Mayor Paul Soglin and nine city council members issued a letter to the Madison College Board of Directors Monday urging them to continue operating their downtown location.
The group of city officials argue the campus’ central location allows it to provide easily accessible service to students. At the same time, officials stressed that they support the expansion of the south side campus, which administration said it would pursue if the downtown campus is vacated.
Madison College President Jack Daniels recommended the college vacate and lease the downtown property in April, citing a decrease in attendance rates and the high cost of renovations. Spokespeople for Madison College said the move would allow it to refocus on Madison’s south campus, an under-served location.
According to the letter, city officials agree the college should close one of its four locations but contend the central campus is the most accessible option for students.
“We are cognizant of the budget constraints facing Madison College, but we are not satisfied that all options for maintaining the [Downtown Education Center] site have been explored,” the letter said.
Ald. Zach Wood, District 8, who signed the letter, said the downtown campus is by far the most accessible Madison College location given the high concentration of Metro routes running in close proximity. The campus is located off capitol square.
There is little information on exactly how many students commute to campus by car or by Metro, but Wood said the city hopes to get that information as the board begins the decision-making process.
Another signee, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said the city is willing to consider a resolution which would commit city planning staff to investigating viable alternatives to shutting down the downtown campus. Verveer said he believes more alders would have signed onto the letter but were unable to because of its quick issuance.