He said Midway feels it is important to run the program in a location where it would have full classes - about 60 students per class.
Drake said rumors that Midway's nursing program was under probation, or that the school itself was under probation for student loan violations, are nothing short of ludicrous.
"I can assure you, we're audited every year on things like this and we've had clean audits," Drake said.
"Has nothing to do with Ephraim McDowell"
The Kentucky Board of Nursing Education Department says Midway's nursing program has full approval status as well - the highest ranking a nursing school can receive.
Drake said Midway's decision to discontinue classes locally "certainly has nothing to do with Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center.
"They have our utmost appreciation for the support they've given us for the nursing program, and we've certainly kept them apprised of the move."
Audrey Powell, chief nursing officer at McDowell, said the hospital and college are on good terms. "There's been a lot of shared values, and it's been a great relationship," said Powell. The relationship is only changing in the scope of what's offered locally, she pointed out.
"They will still do their clinicals and rotations with us," Powell said.
Powell said there is an increase in nursing students nationally. The demand has also increased locally, which means more venues are offering classes.
"There is federal grant money to help people follow their nursing dreams, but often it's not enough for them to pay the entire tuition to private colleges," Powell said. "That affects enrollment when there are other programs available."
Powell said Midway's program was unique in that it was the first to offer all the general education requirements locally for nursing students, plus the opportunity to complete clinicals and rotations. She said Midway is still very much a forerunner in nursing education.
"And if you look at their pass rates, you'd see it's a very strong program," Powell said. "They're innovative in the fact that they collaborated with a community hospital, when not many across the country were doing that." "This is deeper than just a business decision," Drake said. "We are following through with our mission to provide more nurses for Kentucky. We just look at it like the Danville program is moving to the Midway location."