OSUM closer to science building

News Release Date: 

Students in an engineering lab class at Ohio State University at Marion (OSUM) work on a problem Friday morning, Aug. 23, 2013. There are 36 students in the class, instructed by Harrison Smith. The afternoon class is even larger, Smith said. The growing number of students in science and engineering has prompted OSUM to look at constructing a new science building. / Bill Sinden/The Marion Star

Officials discuss need as engineering program grows

Published in the 8-25-2013 edition of The Marion Star
Written by Kurt Moore

MARION — An increasing growth in engineering students has The Ohio State University at Marion making another push to secure funding for its science and engineering building.

Ohio State Marion officials announced recently that the regional campus needs to raise about $1.9 million more to start construction. Dave Claborn, director of development and community relations, said his hope is to see construction start in 2014. That’s when he expects construction on an extension of University Drive to be built through campus will start.

“I see the groundbreaking and build about the same time as the new road,” he said. “It’s going to be a whole new way of looking at this campus. I think it’s important to have all this happen.”

The construction estimate is about $15 million. The campus has about $9.7 million in local reserves that can be used for the project and Claborn said about $1.6 million has been raised.

Once another $1.9 million is raised, he said the campus may be able to borrow the remaining $2 million.

Architectural planning for the building may start soon.

To donate

If you are interested in donating to The Ohio State University at Marion, information on how is available by calling director of development and community relations Dave Claborn at 740-725-6360. He can be reached by email at claborn.17@osu.edu.

Ohio State Marion expects to have about 200 students majoring in engineering this year. That includes about 120 freshmen out of what is estimated will be about 480 students in this year’s freshmen class .

Engineering professor Gary Maul and associate dean Bishun Pandey said students can complete two years of studies in several engineering tracks like electrical, mechanical, industrial and computer , before transferring to the main Ohio State campus to complete their final two years.

The campus engineering program, which started with Maul and now has three engineering instructors, is two years old.

Maul and senior lecturer Harrison Smith said drawing more engineering students doesn’t only mean more room needed for engineering classes. There are also other science and math classes that students must take. They said the number of students is maxing out available lab space in Morrill Hall.

Smith said Ohio State Marion had to cut a computer lab in half to turn half into an engineering lab.

Ohio State Marion officials, along with other higher education officials at Marion Technical College and Tri-Rivers Career Center, are suggesting that robotics, engineering and other science, technical, engineering and mathematics fields are key to efforts to revitalize the area. Maul, referring to Marion County’s loss of major industries, compared it to Pittsburgh. That city, he said, went from being a steel town to one known more for its technology.

Maul said the focus on preparing a skilled workforce could lead to more career opportunities that may draw students back after they graduate.

“Why would you come here unless it’s a tech savvy culture?” he asked, referring to the students.

Academic adviser Penny Eyster, who said many of the incoming engineering students are coming from Delaware and Franklin counties, said she plans to promote the engineering program in area schools.

Funding plans include advertising opportunities like company sponsorships. Claborn said people who want to be part of the Ohio State University President’s Club, which recognizes people who give at least $3,000 each calendar year, may give to Ohio State Marion and have that money still count toward membership in the club and its perks.

Twitter: @StarKurtMoore