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Columbus State to modernize, double size of automotive technology education space

The college will invest $15.6 million in voter-approved bond funding to upgrade its training center for automotive maintenance technicians

Campus News | Thursday, May 9, 2024

Auto Tech bay

Students interested in studying to become automotive technicians visit a career exploration event at Columbus State’s existing automotive technology program space in the college’s Delaware Hall building.

Students preparing for automotive technology careers will soon have a leading-edge training center to hone their skills.

Columbus State Community College today announced a $15.6 million project to expand and modernize the auto-technology education center on its downtown campus. The project will benefit students working with a growing roster of manufacturer partners and preparing for the evolving needs of battery electric vehicles and other emerging technologies.

Columbus State is a regional leader in automotive technology education, with innovative workforce development relationships with local dealers across major brands, incoming and established manufacturer partnership academic programs, and skill-building for automotive production plant support roles. The project will create a customized training environment that includes multistory and high-bay spaces that mirror the job sites where automotive technicians will work.

“As advanced technology production ramps up in our region, an updated automotive technology education environment is key to enabling access to good-paying, in-demand careers aligned with the future needs of major regional manufacturing employers like Honda, our Ford and Honda brand-recognized partnerships, and the local dealerships that rely on Columbus State as their workforce pipeline,” said Carmen Daniels, the college’s Business, Engineering and Technology division dean. “We will continue our strong tradition of offering high-quality education preparing students for these emerging careers.”

The project will increase the college’s automotive technology space to more than 40,000 square feet in Delaware Hall, one of Columbus State’s largest buildings.

New lab space will be in part dedicated to exclusive use of the existing Ford ASSET and incoming Honda PACT academic training programs, which both have unique partner requirements, and enable potential additional brand-specific partnerships for Columbus State students.

The college identified a major upgrade to its automotive technology training center as a priority in the 2019 educational facilities and technology plan, called Making Central Ohio Stronger. In 2020, Franklin County residents approved a bond issue to support improvements to Columbus State’s facilities. This project will be funded with those dollars.

“This investment helps fulfill our promise to Franklin County residents to invest in in-demand career education infrastructure,” said David Harrison, Columbus State president. “It’s a great creative repurposing for one of our largest buildings, enabling our automotive technology program to grow in place.”

Columbus State’s automotive technology program currently consists of associate degree and certificate offerings that prepare students to enter automotive service and repair technician careers. Program enrollment is up more than 13% the past two years to annual enrollment of approximately 375, with demand anticipated to sustain ongoing exponential growth.

In addition to the introduction of a new brand service education partnership with Honda, the college is currently working with a state coalition of industry partners on what updates are needed in the program to align with accelerating battery electric vehicle production as part of rapid engineering technology career growth in central Ohio and statewide.

Columbus State has selected GPD Group Inc. of Akron for design services related to the expansion, and the college soon will seek proposals from construction manager at risk firms.

The project will happen in two phases, first renovating a former gymnasium into what will be new space for automotive technology education, then updating the program’s existing instructional space within Delaware Hall. Construction is expected to start in the second quarter of 2025, with both phases complete by the end of 2026.

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