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WCU-COM fills out initial class

HATTIESBURG — William Carey University has filled out its initial class for the College of Osteopathic Medicine with 108 students donning white gowns for the 2010-11 academic year, beginning in mid-August.

That’s besides the 27 faculty and staff members who also have been hired.

“It’s exciting obviously. It moves us one more step down the line,” William Carey president Tommy King said.

William Carey officials argue it’s a boost for the regional health sector, which in two years will embrace these students in clinical rotations.

It also should be good news for the local economy, which, according to a 2009 study by the Area Development Partnership, anticipates an annual $8.2 million revenue spike for the Hattiesburg economy when the school is at full capacity.

Full capacity will come in 2013-14 when the school reaches 400 students.

For the immediate future, the study reports that off-campus student spending will be $2.2 million for the 2010-11 academic year, growing to $6.6 million at full build-out (400 students in 2013-14).

Folks say it will take some time for that revenue surge to register on local businesses, however.

“I don’t think right away you’re just going to see businesses open up or expand because of the school,” ADP president Chad Newell said.

One immediate effect should be a surge in new housing rentals and purchases.

King said he believes the pressure of so many incoming students will eventually require new apartment complexes to be built in the area.

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