Arts + Entertainment

The tuition reduction program N.C. Promise won’t go into effect until 2018, but its impending implementation could already be affecting Western Carolina University’s enrollment numbers.

Designs for a new 600-bed residence hall at Western Carolina University met approval from the WCU Board of Trustees June 2, putting the project on track to house students starting in the fall 2019 semester. 

What was once a wildfire became an outdoor classroom for students in Western Carolina University’s Natural Resource Conservation and Management Program this spring. 

As part of a spring capstone course, 23 students studied four post-fire aspects of the forest ecosystem — forest composition, wildlife habitat, soil and water. Now, they’ve just finished compiling and analyzing the data they gleaned from the 728-acre burned area of the Dicks Creek drainage near Dillsboro.

Two years have passed since developers first got approval to build a student housing complex along South Painter Road in Cullowhee, though not a shovel of earth was ever turned. But the stalled project could move forward this summer if a handful of Jackson County boards give approval.

Sophia Calhoun was 9 years old the day the world changed. Her mother died, leaving her dad to care for Calhoun and her younger sister. When her father passed away four years later, the two girls were officially branded orphans, wards of the state.

On virtually any college campus, they’re there — students who have recently exited foster care, are homeless, wards of the state, or orphaned. And most of the time, they’re invisible, blending in with the student body at large and keeping their struggles wrapped in a tight armor of privacy. 

A new initiative at Western Carolina University, however, will reach out and serve those students in a way that no other college in the state is doing. 

When you’re in the presence of Terrence Mann, you find yourself within reach of an energy — a vibe, perhaps — where you know this person standing before you is a creative reservoir of unknown depths. 

A three-time Tony Award nominee (twice for “Best Actor,” once for “Best Featured Actor”), Mann has performed in small playhouses and renowned theatre companies up and down the Eastern Seaboard, with his numerous roles on Broadway bringing him international acclaim. He was Charles in “Pippin,” Javert in “Les Miserables,” Frank N. Furter in “The Rocky Horror Show,” the Beast in “Beauty and the Beast,” and Rum Tum Tugger in “Cats,” just to name a handful.

The newly hired principal of the newly formed Catamount School in Sylva won’t be new to the environment at Smoky Mountain High School, where the Catamount School is to be located. 

Plans are crystallizing for a new middle school in Jackson County, but it’s a race against the clock for Western Carolina University and Jackson County Public Schools to meet the deadline for opening set by the General Assembly. 

Western Carolina University will soon be opening a school serving primary grades — likely in Jackson County — after a state mandate passed this summer goes into effect.

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