Making Central Ohio Stronger: The Columbus State Educational Facilities and Technology Plan
Columbus State was founded (as Columbus Area Technician’s School) in 1963 and most of its buildings and infrastructure were in place by the late 1970s. In the years since, Central Ohio, its employment landscape, and regional workforce needs have changed dramatically.
Technology and Industry Transformation
The half-century since the College’s founding has marked a period of tremendous technological advancement, and the impact on industry has been genuinely revolutionary. Identifying well-prepared talent with the skills needed in today’s tech-intensive workplace has emerged as the top challenge for regional employers.
Population Growth and Providing Opportunity for All
The population of the College’s four-county service district has grown 64% since 1980, expanding from under a million residents to more than 1.6 million in 2018. The larger Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area has a population of more than 2 million according to 2017 census estimates. The region has flourished economically—per capita income growth (not adjusted for inflation) in the Columbus MSA was 25% between 2010 and 2016, leading the state and outperforming the nation as a whole.
At the same time, the growing gap between the proportion of jobs requiring the workforce training and credentials delivered by the College and the proportion of Central Ohioans who are prepared for those jobs is troubling. As population growth accelerates—the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission estimates that the region will reach 3 million people by 2050—Central Ohio will suffer without aggressive efforts to provide opportunity to all by expanding access to affordable, in-demand workforce education and training, and high-quality, debt-free pathways to bachelor’s degrees.
A Plan to Fulfill Our Promise
In most respects, Columbus State is ideally positioned for this moment—academic programs are informed by greater employer engagement than at any point in the College’s history, and a relentless focus on affordability and student success puts meaningful, employable credentials in reach for students and families that stand to benefit most. But maximizing opportunities for students and fueling industry growth are not possible in mid-20th Century buildings with outdated technology.
The Educational Facilities and Technology Plan—adopted by the Board of Trustees at its September 2019 meeting—outlines recommendations for a comprehensive overhaul of Columbus State’s aging and outdated teaching facilities, infrastructure, technology, and physical plant. It builds upon the 2013 Master Plan, the comprehensive facilities and ADA assessments in 2017, and the most recent six-year capital plan submitted to the State. The College expects to implement this plan—which would be funded by a variety of sources—over a ten-year period, dramatically accelerating its positive impact on students, families, and the regional economy in the process.
On November 21, 2019, the College’s Board of Trustees voted to approve a Resolution to Proceed, the final step on the path to approving plans to put a bond issue on the March 2020 Franklin County primary ballot. If approved by voters, the bond issue would generate $300 million in funding to allow the College to pursue many of the classroom, laboratory, and technology improvements described in the Educational Facilities and Technology Plan.