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Access + Quality + Affordability = Master Plan

Master Plan lays out a vision for new partnerships, new construction, and our commitment to students.

Building community partnerships along with academic buildings, and removing surface parking while expanding learning spaces, are key components of Columbus State’s plan to move forward in coming years.

More than 150 local civic and business leaders and public officials gathered Sept. 19 as President David Harrison provided an overview of the college’s Master Plan. (Read about the Master Planning process)

Columbus State is deepening its partnerships with K-12 districts, other colleges and the business community, Harrison said. For example, Columbus State convened the Central Ohio Compact, a consortium of educational institutions to develop a plan to improve access to higher education.

The Compact’s goal is to prepare more students for college-level work, and ensure that 60 percent of Central Ohioans have a college degree or certificate by 2025.

More renderings below

See also: Videos of the event

The college is also consulting with businesses to create new programs. Fresh off its LogisticsART program, which trained 750 unemployed workers for in-demand logistics jobs, the college is pursuing partnerships with local insurance and health-care companies. A partnership to train police and firefighters for the city of Columbus kicked off this fall.

At the same time, the college is pursuing more transfer agreements with four-year colleges. Those agreements allow students to take two or three years at Columbus State, then transfer to another college to finish a bachelor’s degree.

With Columbus State’s lower tuition costs, transfer programs allow thousands of students to get a debt-free degree. The college held tuition steady for six years during the recession, and around 60 percent of Columbus State students take on no debt in a year.

“It’s time to do the math. Our formula is access, plus quality, plus affordability, equals value,” Harrison said.

The Master Plan includes renderings for new facilities. New academic buildings, such as a possible School of Business Technology and School of Hospitality Management, are among the concepts. With no specific funding currently available, the college would work closely with area business and civic partners to explore funding options.

The plan also calls for removing surface parking and adding parking garages to make the area more pedestrian-friendly and inviting. Newly released animated graphics provide a unique vision of what that area could look like in the future.

But more than facilities and formal agreements, Harrison pledged to maintain the college’s commitment to students. Columbus State’s success stories begin with a professor or staffer who reached out to a student, he said.

“Success isn’t about buildings, it’s about people. When we meet with students, we ask them ‘have you ever thought about dropping out?’ and they say ‘about every 20 minutes!’ But when we ask them why they persisted, they always say the name of a person,” Harrison said.