Embry-Riddle campus moves away from RFD, new classes coming soon - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Embry-Riddle campus moves away from RFD, new classes coming soon

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University launches new programs at its Rockford Worldwide Campus, but that's no longer at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport. The new year brings a new Embry-Riddle location.

In August, opportunities for students looking to learn more about aerospace will take flight. It'll all happen on Rockford's East side where Embry-Riddle's been since January 1st.

"In December 2011, I was approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to offer three new programs, a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance, a Bachelor of Science in Project Management and a Master's of Systems Engineering." -says Embry-Riddle Rockford Worldwide Campus Director of Academic Support Melissa Barbee.

Embry-Riddle is able to teach these classes, but educators haven't yet. Barbee says one RFD classroom wasn't cutting it.

"We needed more space to grow our programs, to grow our student population and also to grow our office staff as well so it was just time to move and sort of create our own entity here in Rockford."

According to Barbee, leaving the airport for this new, two-classroom site was never part of the plan.

"When we were initially brought on at RFD it was a free lease that we were there under with the intent that there was going to be another building built, for education and research purposes and that never happened." -she says.

The new location's rent is certainly more expensive, but the freedom is priceless.

"It's ours. We're here." -says Barbee.

The building's exterior signs aren't up yet, but the new 2,700 square foot space located at 7479 Walton Street, Suite #4, started hosting students for classes taught at RFD on Monday.

This new adventure offers more for Embry-Riddle's non-traditional, adult learners, but the university could be educating high-schoolers soon. A deal is in the works between Embry-Riddle and Rockford's school district 205 to allow aerospace classes taught at Jefferson High School. It's all in planning stages, but the goal is to eventually have students take aerospace classes all four years of high-school and graduate not only with a diploma, but an Associate's degree from Embry-Riddle.

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