A new college in Waynesboro?

Officials at Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro are exploring a proposal to open a new military junior college in Downtown Waynesboro.

The proposal would have the junior college operating out of the old General Wayne Inn owned by the school and adjacent to its secondary school campus downtown. The college would be able to accommodate 150-175 students.

“The question right now is, How can we make the whole package work together so that there’s a market and a product, and that it’s all funded?” Fishburne Military School spokesman Ryan Catherwood said Wednesday.

FMS officials have been putting feelers out to potential partners to gauge community interest in the project. Catherwood estimated a three- to five-year timetable for securing funding, renovating the General Wayne, obtaining accreditation and getting staff and students on campus.

The draw would be to students who want a military college degree to be able to enter the military as a commissioned officer, and those who want to transfer after junior college to a four-year school with an active ROTC program.

Fishburne Superintendent Col. Roy F. Zinser targeted the junior-college idea as a potential growth opportunity for the school, and has been talking up the idea in meetings with community leaders in recent weeks.

“That’s a reason we’re talking about this now. Maybe this spurs community interest in partnerships,” Catherwood said. “It’s great to have people thinking about it inside Fishburne. It’s a whole other thing to let the community know that we have this big dream, this big plan. Maybe there are folks in the community who want to know how they can help.”

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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