Stark State College – along with the City of Akron, County of Summit, State of Ohio and Greater Akron Chamber – announced plans today for Stark State College Akron, a new education and workforce training center to be constructed on 11 acres of property along Route 8 at the Perkins Street exit, with access from East Market Street.
The 50,000-square-foot building will take approximately two years to complete and is located right off of Route 8 to accommodate commuters, along with offering Metro public transportation access.
Stark State and the City of Akron signed a Letter of Understanding to enter into a lease-purchase agreement, subject to approval by Stark State’s Board of Trustees and Akron City
Council, whereby the College will pay $47,469 each year for 20 years, for a total purchase price of $949,380 for the city-owned property.
The State of Ohio is providing $6.5 million in capital funding for the project, including $500,000 in community capital funds, requested for the project by the Greater Akron Chamber and approved by the General Assembly. Stark State’s Board has set aside $5 million in college reserves to fund the Akron project.
“Stark State College Akron will provide affordable, quality associate degrees and certificates that lead to careers in high-growth, high-demand fields to benefit students, businesses and Greater Akron communities,” said Stark State President Para M. Jones, Ph.D. “Thanks to the leadership and commitment of Mayor Horrigan and the City of Akron and County Executive Russ Pry and Summit County officials, students of all ages will have access to educational opportunities that provide pathways to prosperity for them and their families and businesses in the region will have the well-educated and technically proficient workforce they need. The result is economic development for all.
“Thanks also to the General Assembly, especially the Akron delegation, for state capital funds, including community capital requested by the Greater Akron Chamber for the project,” Jones said. “Finally, thanks to Stark State’s Board of Trustees and our student-centered faculty and staff for responding to the needs of current and future students.”
“Equity in the areas of education and health are at the forefront of this administration’s mission,” said Mayor Daniel Horrigan. “Through this exciting partnership between the city of Akron, Summit County and Stark State, we will have a means for all residents in our community to get the training and education they need to be lifted up to a better quality of life.”
“This expansion of Stark State College into Summit County is a much needed step to providing the men and women in our workforce with the training and education they need to compete in the 21st century,” said County Executive Russ Pry. “In turn, this highly skilled workforce will continue to be an engine for successful business here in Summit County. I would like to thank President Para Jones, her staff and the Board of Trustees for choosing to make Summit County the second home of Stark State.”
Stark State has been serving the needs of Akron and Summit County students and businesses for decades, with programs such as Dental Hygiene, funded by the Akron Dental Society and GAR Foundation, and the FirstEnergy Lineworker and Substation Technician programs, developed by Stark State nearly 20 years ago and now expanded to 12 community colleges in five states.
The College is currently working with Conexus/Ohio Means Jobs on new educational and training pathways to prepare underserved residents for information technology openings in the region.
“We have strong educational partnerships with Akron Public Schools, Summit County Schools, Summit Education Initiative, The University of Akron, Kent State University and others,” Jones said. “An excellent example of a successful partnership is our Stark State/NEOMED articulation program, which allows our associate of science graduates direct admission into NEOMED’s highly competitive pharmacy doctoral program.”
The College plans to continue working on potential locations to offer courses in Akron while the facility is under construction. Meanwhile, prospective students are encouraged to visit www.starkstate.edu/akron for updates on progress as well as current class offerings online, in Barberton and at the main campus in North Canton.