(Oct. 22, 2013 – North Canton, OH) A new $1.3 million ShaleNET well site training lab at the corner of Third Street and Cherry Ave. will be ready by fall 2014 to train oil and gas students, according to Dr. Para M. Jones, president of Stark State College. The parcel was purchased in June for $179,900 and is about one block northeast of the future site of the Stark State Downtown Canton Satellite Center and Energy Institute. Trustees approved final plans for the training lab at their Oct. 16 meeting.
“This lab will provide students with hands-on learning experiences, much like those they would experience in the field or on oil rigs,” said Jones.
The College will construct a 7,000-square-foot building on the land to house an indoor/outdoor well-site trainer and lease operator lab.
According to Kathleen Steere, coordinator of oil and gas programs, the equipment to be installed includes the indoor ShaleNET well site trainer and the following outdoor equipment:
- pump jack/well head which brings the reservoir fluids to the surface
- a gas production unit with a three-phase separator/heater treater to separate the reservoir fluids into each phase (gas, oil, water)
- stock tanks to hold produced reservoir fluids
- natural gas compressor which regulates the gas pressure for entry into a gathering/distribution pipeline
- meter run/meter shed that records flow of the gas components through gathering/distribution pipeline
Additional equipment will be added as the demand for oil and gas training grow.
In May, Stark State trustees purchased the nearby Cornerstone II building at 400 Third St. SE for $4.9 million through a $10 million State of Ohio capital appropriation with plans to consolidate academic programs at several downtown locations and create an energy institute to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry. The remaining $5.1 million from the state will support renovations to the building and construction of the well site training lab.
“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 Dr. Para M. Jones, president of Stark State. “Both locations meet these criteria and provide convenient access from SR 30, SR 43 and I-77 for our current and future oil and gas partners.
Jones noted that under the direction of Steere and an advisory board comprised of community leaders and experts in the oil and gas field, Stark State is quickly becoming a regional training hub for oil and gas. The College has already been offering ShaleNET classes which will move to the downtown facilities when they are completed. The College currently offers two-year degrees, one-year certificates and courses that support basic skills and certifications, such as Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) training, welding and floor hand training.
“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.”
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. Part of that funding, along with an additional $500,000 grant from The Timken Foundation will support equipment purchases expected to cost about $730,000.
“The state appropriation provided Stark State with added leverage in applying for and receiving both the Department of Labor and the Timken Foundation grants,” said Jones.
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.
Current occupants of Cornerstone II, Chesapeake Energy and the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (BWC), will relocate their operations.