Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin on Monday downplayed what’s been described as a “turf war” between the school and Sinclair Community College and said she looks forward to future discussions on the schools’ plans for expansion.
“I think it’s just a matter of what’s best for students, and what’s best for collaboration and what’s best for taxpayer resources,” Blondin said.
The dispute between Clark State and Sinclair broke out last year as each wanted to serve the high-tech needs of Greene County and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Clark State wants to invest another $13 million into its Beavercreek campus and has an option on land to build a three-story building there. Sinclair wants to open its first “corporate college” about a half-mile away from Clark’s State’s campus in Greene County.
The state recently asked the schools to halt expansion plans in Beavercreek until the two resolved their issues.
The presidents of both public colleges were warned in a letter dated Oct. 31 by John Carey, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, that the dispute threatens to have “unintended consequences” for the schools and higher education.
Blondin said after a speech before the Springfield Rotary Club Hollenbeck-Bayley Creative Arts Center that no additional action has occurred since the two exchanged memorandums of understanding late last year.
During Blondin’s speech, she said Clark State’s growth has occurred mostly at the Greene County campus but said overall enrollment for the college is flat, while other community colleges have seen an 8 to 10 percent decline.
Clark State has 5,000 students, including 3,000 at the Leffel Lane campus and 1,500 at the Greene County campus, she said.
“Expanding in Greene County. That is where we’re growing. This spring, tracking enrollment, which I look at every day, twice, we are about 12 percent ahead of where we were last year. So that (flat) enrollment is coming from Springfield, and we’re working on … that,” she said.
She said 47 percent of students come from Clark County, 18 percent or 1,000 students are from Montgomery County and 15 percent come from Greene County.
Blondin became Clark State’s president July 1. She replaced long-time Clark State President Karen Rafinski, who retired.
She said the college is placing more attention on athletics and on modern delivery of education where students can go to school any day and any time.
She said colleges face challenges filling middle skills jobs. She said 60 percent of jobs in 2020 will require post secondary education, but not a bachelor’s degree, and colleges must do more to prepare students for future jobs.
Blondin said Clark State plans to collaborate with area colleges, including Wright State University and Central State.
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