The Trading Post

By: Hallie Lang

January 9, 2005

Excitement is mounting in anticipation of a university coming to Medina County, but the ground isn’t shaking yet. In the coming weeks of this month, as final funding is secured from state appropriations and land is transferred from the county to the University of Akron. Medina County officials who have sought a university presence in the area the past several years will see their persistence come to fruition.

Pending the January meetings to finalize funding and land transfer, the University of Akron Medina County University Center is set to break ground this year. It will be located at the corner of Lake and Wedgewood Roads in Lafayette Township on 50 acres of land deeded from the Medina County Commissioners to the University of Akron as a gift.

“Medina County selected us. County business leaders came to us with an interest in making higher education offerings more accessible in their area,” said the University of Akron provost Dr. Elizabeth Stroble.

Designed to strengthen education and workforce opportunities in Northeast Ohio, the Medina County University Center will provide the same quality education people expect from the University of Akron in a more convenient setting.

“Many people in Medina County interested in higher education also have jobs and families. The flexible schedule and decreased travel time and distance is designed to meet those needs,” said Stroble. “The Medina County University Center will make it possible to reach more people in a time and place convenient for them.”

When complete, the Medina County University Center will boast state-of-the-art classrooms, computer labs, training facilities and distances learning labs. The first phase of the University Center will consist of a 30,000 square-foot, $10 million facility projected to open its doors to 300-400 students for the 2006-2007 academic year.

A strong emphasis on workforce development is planned, including short-term training, long-term training leading to certification, and traditional degree programs from areas such as the College of Education and the College of Nursing.

The University Center’s program will be based on a flexible curriculum as courses will change as needs change and the market expands. The unique courses, taught by University of Akron or Wayne College faculty, will be tailored to the county’s needs linked to county businesses.

In response to this strong link between the University Center and county businesses, the county is also developing a business technology park on land adjacent to the University Center with the goal of attracting high tech companies that will work reciprocally with the university. No date has been set for groundbreaking.

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