By Gary Budzak
The President of Columbus State expects the Community College’s Delaware campus to grow with the fastest-growing county in the state.
“With Delaware being such a fast-growing county, and a county that values education as strongly as it does, our presence in the county is only going to continue to expand,” David T. Harrison said in a recent exclusive interview with The Gazette. “I really do see us growing with the county.”
Harrison noted that CSCC’s 108-acre Delaware campus is larger than the downtown Columbus campus near I-71 and I-670. Founded in 1963, Columbus State opened its Delaware Campus in the fall of 2010. It currently consists of one building, Moeller Hall.
“When you build a new campus, and it’s a one-building campus, you have to put some infrastructure in place in that first building that would serve a larger campus,” Harrison said. “So as we bring on our second building, we really wanna have a thoughtful plan to determine which academic programs we would want to highlight in a new facility, because some of them have to be purpose-built for labs and other kinds of learning experiences.”
Additional educational facilities at CSCC would be based on a “combination of employer need and student demand,” he said. “First and foremost are the academic needs of our students.”
CSCC has engaged the community in focus groups, surveys and interviews, Harrison said, “because we want to make sure we’re good neighbors in Delaware County. “There are a lot of good things happening there. We want to make sure we’re growing with the county in the context of things the community needs.”
At a 50th anniversary “State of the College” talk at Moeller in April, Harrison said that an expanded Delaware campus could include amenities such as fitness and performing arts facilities. The college’s 2013 annual report foresaw a five-zone Delaware campus: core academics with future facilities and parking; a central green space; a public zone with a community center; frontage landscape which connects Winter Road with Cornerstone Parkway; and a 20-acre nature preserve to the west.
Partnerships with governmental agencies and public- and private-sector organizations “could accelerate” the development of the Delaware campus, he said.
“We don’t have funding for any of this, but we did want to help the community understand what the possibilities were,” Harrison said. “But as of right now, we don’t have a funding model in place to move it forward.”
Harrison said there was no specific time frame for expansion at the Delaware campus.
Meanwhile, he said creative partnerships, such as the Olentangy Local Schools’ dual-enrollment program, are helping to “create the Delaware campus as a hub for learning in Delaware County.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-363-1161 ext. 340 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.