Dodge City officials say the Kansas town’s recent economic growth is endangered by the lack of a four-year college.

The city anchors a 28-county region in western Kansas without a four-year college.  In recent years, the city completed $86 million in renovations and expansions to its schools, an addition to the Boot Hill Museum, a new $12 million waterpark and several new businesses.

The Kansas News Service reports city officials believe the lack of a four-year college forces students to leave to pursue higher education.  That, in turn, means many middle-class jobs such as teaching or health care go unfilled.

Joann Knight, head of economic development, says the city would welcome a satellite campus for universities based elsewhere that could build on the area’s community college programs.