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CSN continues ambitious game plan for athletics

The College of Southern Nevada unveiled a new women’s softball field last week, the school’s latest move in an ambitious expansion to its athletic department.

Touting the field as a “tremendous attribute,” athletic director Dexter Irvin said the addition will help recruit players and give CSN’s Lady Coyotes an edge over competitors. The facility, which has a grandstand for about 500 spectators, features a video scoreboard, hitting cages and a press box. The field is located at the Lied Sports Complex inside CSN’s Henderson campus.

CSN has also added soccer teams and women’s volleyball in the past two years.

The community college expects to benefit — it has taken on expansion costs in hopes of attracting more students to CSN, which has struggled for years to enroll students. President Mike Richards also thinks the beefed up athletic offerings will boost CSN’s community presence.

UNLV HITS $150 MILLION

UNLV this week announced that its most recent fundraising effort has raked in $150 million in the past two years, the most the school has raised since its last donation campaign ended in 2009.

The university has become increasingly dependent on private money as state lawmakers have shrunk higher education funding in recent decades. Donations help fund most of UNLV’s big projects, such as expanding the Thomas & Mack Center and creating a new home for its hospitality school.

According to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, higher education funding in Nevada tumbled by nearly 35 percent from 2010 to 2015, down to $7,023 per student. The U.S. average was 15 percent.

The school raised about $75.3 million in donations during the last fiscal year. Administrators said they used some of the money to create 35 new scholarships, including “several” four-year scholarships for the school’s budding medical school. UNLV also received a $2 million gift to help establish the medical school’s orthopedics department.

NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS

For the fourth year in a row, 15 students at Clark High School have earned a spot as semifinalists in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program.

The title is given to 1 percent of America’s high school seniors for their top-of-the-top scores on the PSAT, a standardized exam that measures critical reading, math problem-solving and writing skills. From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationally, about 90 percent are expected to earn finalist standing and a chance to earn one of 7,500 scholarships worth a combined $33 million.

At Clark, the portrait of every National Merit semifinalist has been hung in the hallway above student lockers since the 1990s, according to Principal Jill Pendleton. The number of semifinalists at her school remained in the single digits until 2012, when Clark posted its 10th, second-highest in the state.

Clark had just one semifinalist in 2011. Since then, a total of 70 students have been named as semifinalists.

This year, 64 seniors from public, charter and private schools in Clark County were named semifinalists in the annual competition.

On Education will appear every other Saturday.

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Follow @nealtmorton on Twitter. Contact Ana Ley at aley@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512. Follow @la__ley on Twitter.

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