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Ma heads to China to discuss Ogdensburg school proposal

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Businessman James Ma will travel to his native China soon to discuss with government officials his plans to help establish a Chinese university’s U.S. campus and his own English as second language school in the town of Oswegatchie.

Mr. Ma said Tuesday he will go to China later this month or in early October to answer more questions about Qingdao University’s tentative plans to set up in fall 2013 at the former Academy at Ivy Ridge on Route 37.

“Qingdao University made their report to the municipal government,” he said. “I am requested by Qingdao University and the municipal government to discuss it further.”

Mr. Ma said that the proposal here must be reviewed by government officials in Shandong Province “because Qingdao University is a state-run school.”

A group of administrators from delegation Qingdao University was here in July to tour the campus of the former reform school, which Mr. Ma bought in 2011.

He envisions the university co-existing with his proposed English as second language school for high school students from his native China and other countries.

The government at home, Mr. Ma said, wants to know about how his partnership with Qingdao University will work.

“How the collaboration will be, who is to make further investment,” he said.

The visiting educators, who submitted a report on their visit to the government at home, liked what they saw.

Qingdao Vice President Wang Huanliang called the 238-acre property “a really good place to run a school.” His students from the U.S. and Canada can learn Chinese language and culture here, he said.

Mr. Ma said he continues to be optimistic that his collaboration with Qingdao University will be approved in time for the school to open in fall 2013.

Mr. Ma, who is from Shandong Province, paid $1.5 million for the property and expects to invest another $2 million on renovations.

Qingdao University was founded in 1993 in Shandong Province as a combination of other schools, the former Tsingtao University, Shandong Textile Engineering Institute, Qingdao Medical College and Qingdao Teachers’ College.

Ivy Ridge closed in 2009. Before Ivy Ridge operated there, the campus housed Mater Dei College.

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