Shared Challenges, Shared Solutions
Finlandia University President Philip Johnson believes that the best solutions lie within. The Hancock Public Schools Board of Education agrees.
Finlandia and the Hancock Public Schools have a unique public/private collaboration with the goal of a healthier and better educated populace.
Through a strategic and creative exchange of resources, Hancock Schools and Finlandia have launched, "Campus and Community: Together for Good," an exchange of physical school district properties for a long-term package of Finlandia tuition awards and educational programs and services.
"Hancock and Finlandia face many common challenges for growth in a context where resources are not in abundance," says President Johnson. "These shared challenges invite, even urge, shared solutions."
Specifically, the agreement is centered on two properties previously owned by Hancock Public Schools: the middle school building on Quincy Street adjacent to Finlandia's downtown Hancock campus, and Condon athletic field on Birch Street in Hancock just a few blocks from the university.
Finlandia plans to renovate the middle school to accommodate the growth of the College of Health Sciences. Condon Field will be developed as a collegiate athletic field complex capable of supporting Finlandia's NCAA Division III programs and the Hancock Bulldogs.
The swap will net millions in scholarships for Hancock Central High School graduates who attend Finlandia over the life of the agreement, as well as educational services to students and residents living within the Hancock school district.
A joint committee of officials including representation from Hancock Public Schools, the City of Hancock and Finlandia University oversee the agreement to preserve the commitments of the collaboration and manage any issues related to the agreement.
"I see it as a very positive thing for the entire community," says Hancock Mayor Bill Laitila. "That the growth of Finlandia's health care programs is part of the focus is very good for community, and right on track for national health care worker needs. It should also be good for recruiting students. For the City of Hancock, the better Finlandia does, the better the community does. I hope the plan will be a great success."
"It's fantastic," says Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson. "The deal will pay dividends for many, many years, not only for the 12 years it is in place. For the students who are educated, it'll go on for a lifetime."