Nearly two hundred people gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of Madison College’s Goodman South Campus at the corner of Badger Road and South Park Street today. Madison College President Jack Daniels hosted the ceremony and invited administrators, donors, and community partners to share remarks about what they hoped would be a historic day for South Madison and greater Dane County.
The approval process for Madison College’s South Campus Initiative began more than two years ago in May 2016. The project has had both proponents and detractors along the way, but the speakers at today’s groundbreaking all praised the new South Campus facility as a step toward greater access and equality of opportunity in Madison’s south side. President Daniels expressed his hope that the campus would serve not only students but the community at large. “Madison College’s Goodman South Campus is more than a place where people can take classes and receive hands-on training,” he said to the crowd. “It will also serve as a community gathering place—a safe place to call their own [where] people can engage with each other, have meaningful conversations, access vital community services, and celebrate their wonderful successes.”
The goal is that the Goodman South Campus will bring needed resources to the underserved and underrepresented residents of South Madison, including people of color, the unemployed or underemployed, and first-generation college students and their families. President Daniels hopes that this new campus will offer the skill-training and acquisition of specialized knowledge needed to build a quality, diverse workforce and to provide individuals with the opportunity to earn family-supporting wages.
Among the attendees were more than two dozen leaders of community service organizations whose partnership will enable Madison College to offer comprehensive wraparound services that will address the diverse needs of students and community members. Mario Garcia Sierra, president of the board of directors for Centro Hispano, spoke to the crowd and welcomed the Goodman South Campus as a new neighbor on Badger Road. “The building will house careers, for sure, professional sessions and certificates, yes, but more importantly, the building itself will transform the realities and dreams and aspirations of so many people in this neighborhood who look like me.”
Ruben Anthony, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, also extended a warm welcome to the new South Campus and praised Madison College for taking the initiative in addressing issues of race and poverty in the Madison community. “When I look at what’s happening in African-American communities around the country, and you look at this African-American enclave on the Southside, and you look at what Madison College is doing… You know, usually people are running away from the fire. But Madison College is running towards the fire!”
One program highlighted at the ceremony was the Early College STEM Academy, a partnership between Madison College and the Madison Metropolitan School District that offers K–12 students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree by the end of their senior year of high school. The program is especially designed for girls, students of color, and first generation college-going students to gain expertise and credentials in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. The STEM Academy is launching this fall with twenty-five students at Madison College’s Truax campus and will be relocating to the Goodman South Campus the following year with an ultimate goal of two hundred enrolled students from MMSD.
There was excitement in the air throughout the groundbreaking ceremony. Speakers expressed their hope that this new campus can galvanize a sense of place for all members of the South Madison community, regardless of whether or not they are students. The Goodman South Campus will be open and classes will begin in the fall of 2019.
This story was reported by Richelle Wilson for WORT News.