AKRON The final touches are being completed on a brand new building just off state Route 8, which will house Stark State Akron.
Construction of the $15.7 million project began in December 2016 and is expected to be complete this May and open to students this fall. Stark State President Para Jones said the building isn’t fancy, but it serves the needs of students and is a functional space.
"We designed everything around the students and the experience they have had," Jones said.
Walking into the building there is a commons area along with a place for students to eat. Jones said there isn’t food service at the location, but some food trucks will be coming on Fridays and there are plenty of nearby locations for students to get food.
Written on of the wall in the entrance it reads: "Your success starts here." Jones said that pretty much sums up the goal of Stark State.
The new 16,414 square-foot building sits on 13 acres of land, which has a 600 spot parking lot. When the school opens this fall, only the first and second floors will be completed, which features 14 lecture classrooms, six computer labs and a science lab. Construction is expected to continue on the basement level and the third floor and be completed in late 2019 or early 2020. The basement will be used for industrial training courses and the third floor will be health labs.
Jones said every classroom is designed the same throughout the building and the average class size is 19.
The school has temporary learning space on White Pond Drive where about 1,000 students attend. When the new location opens in the fall, the school anticipates having 1,500 students and eventually down the road having 5,000 students at full capacity.
Jones said the math lab will be full of computers for students to take part in a math program, which will provide an individual learning plan for each student to work at their own pace.
"It will provide a very personalized approach to math," Jones said.
The first floor features a testing center, which Jones said the school allows for a three day test window because school officials understand people have to work and can’t always make the one day test window. She said the school serves a lot of working adults and the testing center will likely be open six to seven days per-week.
Along the walls on the second floor in the hallway are built-in tables that will soon have computers on them for students to use before or after class. Jones said the school is a commuter school and this area will allow students to have a place to work on homework. A large majority of the students commute from Summit County to the Stark State Main Campus in Jackson Township, Jones said.
"Students kept saying it is taking too long to get to and from school," Jones said. "We began looking at what we could do about that."
Jones said the school is very proud of all the partnerships it has, including those with the University of Akron and Kent State University. Stark State hopes to continue to grow these partnerships in the future.
Stark State Akron will offer program degrees in accounting, associate of arts, associate of science, business management, criminal justice, early childhood education, human and social service and psychology. Certificates will be offered in chemical dependency, Microsoft applications professional, bookkeeping, banking associate, fundamental payroll and quick books.
At the main campus Stark State offers more than 230 programs.
The school also plans to install 3,500 engraved bricks around three flag poles and students and community members are invited to purchase bricks. The cost for bricks ranges anywhere between $100 and $500 depending on the size. Anyone interested should call 330-494-6170, ext. 4415.
An upcoming project for Stark State will be constructing a CDL training facility somewhere within the city of Akron. The school is looking at several locations, and that will be their next big announcement. Jones said CDL drivers are the second highest demanded job.
The school also has plans for additional growth on the site in the future as the second floor has a space where a walkway would be added to connect to an additional building.
Stark State Akron is planning an open house for the public from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. May 24 at the new location, 360 Perkins St.