New Nevada college would promote Mormon values

Organizers worry about LDS students who don't go to BYU and then fall away.

The Associated Press/May 22, 2010

A new private college planned for Nevada would promote values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and provide an alternative to BYU.

Those organizing Desert Valley College say they hope to open in the fall of 2012.

Supporters plan to locate the campus in Logandale, Nev., about an hour away from Las Vegas, though land for the school has not been secured yet.

Still, they say the need is there.

"We are aware of a growing number of cases where LDS kids go to other colleges and end up becoming inactive or leaving the church or becoming less active and getting into difficulty with morality and with drugs," said director Rex Jensen. "The numbers are quite high for those who go to other schools."

He noted that many Mormon students would like to attend BYU but it's either too cold or too far from home. Others are turned away.

BYU, which has an enrollment of more than 30,000, accepted about 68 percent of those who applied last year.

He said Desert Valley College -- which would not be affiliated with the church's educational system -- would have small class sizes and a BYU-type honor code and dress code.

"It's like BYU but on a much smaller scale," Jensen said.

Organizers hope to have several hundred students enrolled for the first year of classes. They say the school would be ideal for students between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles looking for a Mormon-centered educational experience.

The school plans to offer a variety of four-year degrees in the humanities, social sciences, science, math and fine arts.

Organizers are now in the process of finding land for the school. They expect to need about 80 acres.

Finding the land, at this point, is one of the biggest challenges, especially in a real estate market where some sellers may be reluctant to part with land that has low-end appraisals.

"We're not worried at all about getting the students, professors, teachers and/or instructors to come there," Jensen said.

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