By Wayne Gates –
Beginning this fall, adults will be able to attend full time classes at the north campus of Southern Hills Career and Technical Center.
The million dollar development on Eastwood Road at State Route 32 is expected to open to students on Sept. 5, according to SHCTC Superintendent Kevin Kratzer.
“We will begin renovations on the building next week,” said Kratzer.
“Classes will begin in three different areas, public safety with fire/EMT and police officer certification, a medical assistant program and manufacturing.”
SHCTC bought the building for $200 thousand, and is expected to spend approximately $800 thousand in renovations and equipment prior to opening.
“Last year, we served 1200 adults. We would like to see that number double. That will be a combination of our facilities in Mt. Orab and Georgetown,” said Kratzer.
“Our adult education department has been working for two years for us to become an accredited institution so students can pay for classes with federal student loans and grants. Adults will pay for the classes but they will be eligible for student loans.”
Kratzer said that the industrial training arm of the new facility is very exciting.
“We’ll be working with Milicron and Stanley Black and Decker. We’re going to have training facilities in an industrial type setting,” said Kratzer.
“To be able to say that you have a manufacturing training facility that will modify and customize training for your needs, that’s a pretty nice attraction to a company.”
Mt. Orab Mayor Bruce Lunsford agreed.
“Everybody I meet with that is looking for a manufacturing site, the first thing that comes up is whether there is a local site to train future workers. It’s a vital component to recruiting future economic growth,” said Lunsford.
“Making the decision to help move this facility forward is a commitment to the future growth of Brown County and all of southern Ohio.”
Part of the commitment from the Mt. Orab Port Authority was to sell the building at $400 thousand dollars less than market value, with the idea being that the future economic growth that results will be a good return on that investment.
Lunsford hopes that the new facility will help solve a long term problem for his village.
“One of the most important things in the region is the shortage of firefighters, EMT’s and paramedics. This development will go a long way to helping solve that problem,” said Lunsford.
Kratzer said that even though the new adult education center will offer student loans, he doesn’t see that as competing with local colleges.
“I see us working with the Southern States and the UC Clermonts, not against them. Colleges give degrees. We are not in the degree business. We give credentials,” Krazter said.
“When you come to us, you are coming to get a credential as a medical assistant or a police officer or firefighter. There are also a variety of manufacturing credentials. We are getting ready to offer full time classes for credentials that will change people’s lives.”
When asked who he would like to thank for their help with the project, Kratzer was quick with a list.
“Bruce Lunsford, the Mt. Orab Village Council, the Mt. Orab Port Authority, my staff and my board of education,” he said.