Appalachian State University opened the doors to students at its new Hickory campus Monday.

It was the first day of class for hundreds of new Appalachian State University students who will be studying in a 250,000-square-foot former office building about an hour from Boone. 

University officials collaborated with leaders in local government, businesses and schools to provide the degree programs needed to meet workforce demands, says Megan Hayes, an associate vice chancellor at App State.

“What we’re hearing from the students enrolling in the Hickory campus is that these are students who really want to live and work in Hickory," Hayes says. "They may have families here, they may have jobs here, but they’re interested in getting an App State degree.”

With limited space available for expansion in Boone, App State has been looking online and in other places for growth. 

Hayes says one of the reasons for expanding to this area is that the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton region was the largest metropolitan hub in the state without a public university presence.

Between 300 and 500 students are expected to take classes there this fall, university officials say. The confirmed number won’t be available until September.

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