Ohio University plans to begin offering courses at a location in Beavercreek later this year.
The school, based in Athens, will begin offering some certification courses at the Russ Research Center this summer or fall, said Scott Miller, associate dean for industry partnerships. The research center’s 60-acre campus, located at 2670 Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek Twp., was given to OU by Fritz Russ and his wife Dolores Russ upon their deaths in 2008.
At some point, Miller said he would like OU to offer graduate degree classes at the research center. There are no plans at this time to offer any undergraduate degree courses though the school has not ruled them out for the future.
In deciding what classes to offer in Beavercreek, Miller said officials have looked at what “Ohio University strengths would compliment the Dayton area.” OU could offer Beavercreek classes in the fields of electrical engineering, avionics, operations management and mechanical engineering, among other things, Miller said.
Plans to add educational opportunities at the Bevercreek campus have been in the works for around three years and the school is currently looking for faculty who are interested in teaching there.
Miller said that OU leaders want to collaborate with other Dayton-area colleges. But OU will also try to make sure its Beavercreek location’s offerings do not overlap much with those at other area schools.
“I think that Wright State and the University of Dayton are excellent institutions,” Miller said. “But, I think that Ohio University has more to contribute and can support the growth of the Miami Valley by bringing some of our strengths in as well and our strengths are probably a little bit different than theirs.”
OU will become at least the fourth college to expand its offerings in southwest Ohio in the last year. Bowling Green State University is planning to open a state fire training facility in Piqua, Edison State Community College will open a location in Troy and Sinclair Community College has plans to turn Far Hills Church in Centerville into a new learning center.
Around $500,000 has been spent on renovations and updates to the Russ Research Center campus since OU acquired it in 2008, Miller said.
The campus is home to at least 10 organizations, including Wyle Laboratories, according to OU’s website. It has more than 194,000 square-feet of office and manufacturing space and around 5,000 square-feet of conference rooms and meeting spaces.
The donation of the research center in 2008 was part of a $124 million gift from the Russ’s to OU, according to news reports at the time. The couple also were longtime benefactors of engineering education at Wright State and Cedarville universities. In 1994, OU renamed its engineering school for them.
The couple has strong ties to the Dayton area. In 1948, Fritz Russ took a job as an electronics engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Dolores Fritz worked as an assistant chief of personnel management at the Aircraft Radiation Laboratory.
The upcoming class offerings at the Russ Research Center mark Ohio University’s latest expansion in the last few years. In 2014, the school opened its Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Columbus suburb of Dublin.