Stark State Trustees approve purchase of Cornerstone II for new downtown satellite center

Cornerstone II(May 16, 2013 – North Canton, OH) Stark State College selected Cornerstone II as the site for its new Downtown Canton Satellite Center and Energy Institute, pending approval Monday by the State Controlling Board.

According to Dr. Para M. Jones, president of Stark State College, the Board of Trustees approved the $4.9 million purchase at its meeting on Wednesday night, May 15. Funding for the building, located at 400 Third St. SE in downtown Canton, comes from a $10 million State of Ohio capital appropriation.

The remaining $5.1 million will be used to develop the building and purchase equipment to support current academic programming as well as oil and gas training. An additional $500,000 grant from The Timken Foundation will support equipment purchases.

“The Board of Trustees carefully evaluated numerous downtown locations, taking into consideration the needs of our students and academic programs, room for possible future growth, interstate access and the impact of our satellite center on downtown revitalization,” said Jones. “Cornerstone II meets all these criteria and the location provides excellent access from SR 30, SR 43 and I-77 for our current and future oil and gas partners.

Stark State is quickly becoming a regional training hub for oil and gas as new academic programs are developed under the direction of Kathleen Steere, coordinator of oil and gas programs, in conjunction with an advisory board comprised of community leaders and experts in the oil and gas field. The College currently offers courses that provide basic skills and certifications, as well as one-year certificates and associate degrees. Plans include Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training in the near future.

Stark State is part of a four-college consortium funded through a $14.9 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to develop and implement the first-ever national curriculum for shale oil and gas. The College’s partners in the ShaleNET curriculum are Westmoreland County Community College (PA) and Pennsylvania College of Technology in the Marcellus Shale region, and Navarro (TX) College in the Eagle Ford and Barnett Shale region. Corporate partners include Chevron, Shell, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Chesapeake Energy, XTO, and Encana. Stark State will receive $2.76 million to provide the ShaleNET credit curriculum in the Utica Shale region.

“There is a strong and growing supply chain around the oil and gas industry in Stark and surrounding counties,” Jones said. “We will continue to work with our business partners in the region to evaluate needs and develop education and training programs to support that supply chain.”

In the energy field, Stark State College has for many years led in programming, training and research partnerships with international and world-renowned companies such as The Timken Company, Lockheed Martin and LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc. (formerly Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems), which has its global headquarters on Stark State’s campus.

In addition, more than 1100 Stark State students are currently enrolled in classes at several locations in downtown Canton, including sites at the Timken Campus. “The efficiency of having one location downtown will allow us to better serve students and develop additional programs to meet workforce demands,” Jones said.

Current occupants of Cornerstone II are Chesapeake Energy and the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC). Chesapeake Energy will locate its Utica shale headquarters in 2014 to the Beck Industrial Commerce Center in Louisville. The College will work with the BWC to relocate its operation.

Stark State plans to begin the design and construction bid process this fall and will begin offering classes in the new satellite center in late 2014 or early 2015.