XENIA — Greene County Career Center Superintendent Dave Deskins was like a kid unwrapping a birthday present on Friday.
And in many ways he was as he showed off the center’s new $70 million building, just off U.S. Route 35 near U.S. Route 68.
“This is a facility that the entire region can be proud of … ” Deskins said. “This is an exciting time for students in Greene County.”
Those students — 730 to be exact — will get to walk through the doors of what is likely the most state-of-the-art career education building in Ohio and learn all the tools of the trades they have chosen — many focused on the current needs of the area.
“The journey here started over four years ago with discussions with community leaders regarding the lack of career-technical programming tied to careers connected to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” Deskins said. “Those talks led to a market study by the Greenetree Group in Beavercreek that identified a distinct need for trained workers in fields tied to aerospace and aviation, information technology, and manufacturing.”
More than 1 million metal screws, 7,510 cubic yards of concrete, and 12,934 sheets of drywall later, the new building is set to open to county juniors and seniors Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The 264,000 square-foot building features brand-new equipment — which was selected through input from teachers and advisory committee members — spacious industrial work areas, and an academic wing reminiscent of a small college or university.
Each area is customized — from the criminal justice section; to classrooms for chemistry and English; to blocks for veterinary sciences, sports and exercise sciences, and IT digital media; to the culinary kitchen and the Greene Room; to high bay labs for welding, construction technology and auto collision repair.
While the academic side features standard classrooms, the lab side looks and feels industrial, with large bay doors, visible beams, and wide-open work spaces.
And there’s a lot of built-in flexibility for future expansion and addition of new programs.
The building was designed with an open concept, featuring lots of glass, which can be used as a recruiting tool.
“You will see open sight lines so when we have visitors — community leaders, parents or prospective students — they are able to see why hands-on instruction is an exciting way to learn,” Deskins said.
The signature area is the Take Flight Center, which houses the cybersecurity program, a robotics lab, and a drone flight deck, which allows testing indoors due to heightened ceiling. It features plenty of the aforementioned open sight lines, looking out to the building’s front and the lunch area.
Another highlight is that much of the electrical was prefabricated and completed by career center students — past and present. Chapel Electric of Dayton — which is operated by 1979 GCCC graduate Buck Ross — hired 22 electrical wiring and motor controls students to do electrical work at a job site, which was then delivered to the new building.
Ross and some other industry leaders including ESI Electric donated more than $20,000 worth of electrical tools including pipe benders, wing nuts, and other necessary pieces of equipment.
The building also provides some safety from severe weather as it contains a multi-purpose room — with bleacher seating for 950 — that has four interior walls with poured concrete.
With more space — the old building on West Enon Road was 190,000 square feet —the center’s veterinary science program was able to relocate from the Agricultural Research Center on Brush Row Road.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.