New Clark State center named among top priorities

Clark State, Springfield Art Museum projects on regional priority list

A proposed $5 million Center for Workforce Development & Collaboration at Clark State Community College is ranked in the top five of priority projects for economic development in a list released by a regional advocacy group.

“The selection of this project as a priority indicates that Clark State’s commitment to workforce development and training is recognized and valued across the region,” said Jo Alice Blondin, President of Clark State Community College.

The Dayton Region Priority Development & Advocacy Committee (PDAC) released its annual list of community-evaluated projects seeking funding. Two Clark County projects made the priority list- those that would make the biggest impact on the region. Five fell into the recommended projects category- those that would benefit the region.

MORE: Millions in funding sought for projects in Clark, Champaign counties

The $5 million proposal from Clark State would create a Center for Workforce Development at the Brinkman Education Center in downtown Springfield. The project would also renovate the Brinkman Education Center and provide training and meeting space to better serve area employers.

“Educating and training the current and future work forces are a top priority for the state of Ohio and the Dayon Region,” Blondin said. “This project directly addresses that need.”

The second Clark County project making the priority list is a proposed $862,500-renovation project at the Springfield Museum of Art.

Ann Fortescue, Executive Director for the Springfield Museum of Art, said the funding will help with expanding the museum.

“Our request is for the rehabilitation of the older portion of the building. It will help to double the square footage of the studio art classroom,” Fortescue said. “With the rehabilitation we will also have a larger space to host galleries and student art.”

The renovation project was place as a priority of the Quality of Life area of the the PDAC’s list. All projects were sorted into five areas: Defense, Economic Development, Hospitals & Healthcare, Quality of Life and Transportation & Government Services.

Fortescue said she believes it was put into the Quality of Life area because of the impact the museum has on the community.

“It takes all parts of a community to make it strong, investing in quality of life goes hand in hand with job growth, education, job training and more,” Fortescue said.

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The five recommended projects in the area are:

— Multi-Purpose Building at the Clark County Fairground ($6 million)

— Gloria Theatre Renovation Project in Champaign County ($1.272 million)

— Countywide 911 Dispatch Center Expansion at Clark State Community College ($4 million)

— Performing Arts & Conference Center Expansion at Clark State Community College ($3 million)

— South Limestone Street improvement project in Springfield ($3 million)

The Dayton Development Coalition held a public comment period for submissions to the Priority Development Advocacy Committee in December. The final list includes 48 proposed projects. The process prioritizes which projects to push for as a region when government funding sources or grants become available.

“The value of this process can be seen year after year. PDAC is certainly meeting the goals set when it was established,” said Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton, Development Coalition. “Through PDAC, the Dayton Region is supporting good community projects that benefit economic development, health, education or quality of life in the region.”

Last year, the proposed $9.75 million parking garage in downtown Springfield ranked in the top five of the economic development area. The project later received $2.5 million from the state of Ohio.

Planning for the parking garage is still in the beginning phases.

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