||Brad Meyer, Director of Public and Media Relations
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Ohio Governor Approves State Funding For Owens Community College State-of- the-Art Facilities
Ohio Governor Bob Taft and the state legislature has awarded Owens Community College more than $6 million in capital funding for future construction and renovation of state-of-the-art facilities on its Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses.
As part of the two-year capital budget bill, the College was appropriated $1 million toward the continued construction of a new Fire and Police Training Center for Homeland Security on the Toledo-area Campus, as well as $3.1 million for Phase II construction on the new Findlay-area Campus. In addition, Owens received $1.2 million for basic facility renovations and $634,628 for instructional equipment.
Owens Community College has been at the forefront in providing educational training to safety forces for over three decades. In 2004, the College broke ground for a new $25 million Fire and Police Training Center for Homeland Security. Owens' state-of-the-art facility will be located on a 110-acre site and feature a Command and Simulation Center for Regional Anti-Terrorism and Emergency Management. The interior of the Center will consist of a simulation containment chamber, a command center and state-of-the-art classrooms and computer and science laboratories.
"Providing area police, fire and emergency services personnel with the highest level in real-world, scenario training plays a critical role in ensuring our safety and protection," said Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College. "This new training facility will greatly expand our educational capabilities and position Owens as the regional training provider for thousands of first responders in Ohio and beyond."
Phase I of Owens' initial project is installing an infrastructure of water lines, gas lines and fiber-optic cable. The Phase II construction will include a burn building, a vehicle fire prop and a reconstructed gas station. Additional phases will feature a mock city and a variety of other simulation scenarios.
The Center will feature Ohio's Third Frontier Network - the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network for research, education and economic development. An initiative of the Ohio Board of Regents, the network at Owens will allow area fire and police departments to conduct exercises, via distance learning, on a variety of simulated terrorist incidents, emergency hazards and natural disasters.
The College currently offers associate degrees and certificate programs in Fire Science Technology and Criminal Justice Science Technology, as well as Emergency Medical Technician Certification. Courses offered within the public service curricula include: criminal law and procedure, patrol operations, crime scene processing, fire fighting tactics and command, hazardous materials, fire inspection principles, and first responder.
In 2003, Owens Community College celebrated 20 years of providing higher education within the surrounding Hancock County region by breaking ground for a new Findlay- area Campus. Owens has outgrown the existing Findlay-area Campus, which opened with 201 students in 1983 and currently serves more than 5,500 credit and non-credit students annually. By 2007, the Findlay-area Campus enrollment is projected to grow by another 37 percent to more than 7,500 students.
"Owens Community College Findlay-area Campus has a longstanding commitment to providing each student with access to a high quality education," said Judy Ennis, Owens Executive Dean of the Findlay-area Campus. "The construction of new state-of-the-art facilities will enable the College to offer even more educational opportunities as Owens continues to meet the needs of the Hancock County region."
The 119,407 gross square foot instructional center will provide expanded choices in academic opportunities, highlighted by a library addition, 41 advanced technology classrooms, 28 technical and computer laboratories, as well as student services areas. Included in the new student service areas will be a Bursar's Office, Records Office, Financial Aid Office and Enrollment Services Office. The new 60-acre campus is located at 3200 Bright Road on Findlay's northeast side.
Phase I of the Owens Findlay-area Campus initial project, which costs approximately $17.7 million, is installation of the infrastructure, and construction of the Education Center and a stand-alone $250,600 grant-funded Child Care Center of 2,400 square feet. The infrastructure includes utilities, parking lots and roadways.
To assist the College in continuing to provide a high quality education to Northwest Ohio students, the Owens Community College Foundation is engaging in a fundraising initiative to construct the library and 10 classrooms adjacent to the first phase of the future Findlay-area Campus.
Phase II construction, which will cost approximately $3.9 million, will consist of a 40,000 square foot support services building addition, highlighted by corporate and community education. The building also will include additional classrooms and laboratories.
According to Ennis, the College now can move forward in 2006 with the Phase II construction on the Findlay-area Campus. "Our goal is to have Phase II of the new Owens Findlay-area Campus ready for students by the summer of 2007."
Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Northwest Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.