New STEM Building at Ohio State Newark/COTC Nearing Completion


Construction of a new academic building dedicated to science and technology on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) is nearing completion.

The $32 million John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology, a three-story, 60,000-square-foot facility, will become the 11th building on the shared 200-acre campus. The structure, which will add classrooms, science and research labs, student study space, and faculty offices, is scheduled for substantial completion in late April. The two institutions will begin holding classes in the new building at the start of autumn semester 2021.

William L. MacDonald, Ph.D., dean/director at Ohio State Newark, noted that the Alford Center will address the critical need for laboratory, research and technology space to meet enrollment demands and prepare graduates with skills needed for high-demand jobs in the state.

“We plan to begin offering a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology in Newark as well as additional second-year STEM classes,” said MacDonald. “Our thanks to the Alford and Cantlin families for their generous lead gift of $2.5 million. This planned growth would not be possible without the addition of the Alford Center.”

Ohio State Newark will expand second-year course offerings in science and engineering, allowing students to take advantage of smaller class sizes and close interaction with faculty for two years instead of one before transitioning to the Columbus campus to complete their Ohio State degrees. The Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology with a concentration in manufacturing, which students will be able to complete at Ohio State Newark, is tentatively set to begin on the Newark campus in autumn 2023. The degree program is designed to produce highly skilled college graduates with broad training in manufacturing engineering technology who are prepared for plant management roles. A resurgence of manufacturing, Ohio’s largest economic sector, has increased demand for college graduates with this combination of skills.

“This facility will also allow COTC to expand academic programming, enabling us to continue meeting the demand for workforce needs,” said COTC President John M. Berry, Ph.D. “The Alford Center’s state-of-the-art healthcare simulation center will allow COTC students to gain hands-on experience with the continuum of healthcare settings.”

COTC and Ohio State Newark together committed $17.6 million toward the project and secured $13.9 million in private funds through a community-wide fundraising campaign. Alford Center Capital Campaign Chair Dan DeLawder, chair of the Executive Committee at Park National Bank, applauded the campaign’s many business and community supporters, including Ariel Corporation, the Gilbert Reese Family Foundation, the LeFevre Foundation, the Newark Campus Development Fund, Park National Bank and its associates, and Licking Memorial Health Systems, among others. “Time and time again, the members of the Licking County community step up to the plate when needed,” said DeLawder. “This new facility will have an incredible impact on the campus community and the local community, and I am so thankful for the outpouring of support to get this project to the finish line. We are so fortunate to live in a community that values the importance of education.”

Ronald B. Alford, son of John and Mary Alford and president of the Alford Foundation, noted his parents’ involvement in the Newark community and their strong support of the Newark campus. “My parents were steadfast in their support for Ohio State Newark and COTC, and the Alford and Cantlin families are extremely proud to honor their legacy,” he said. “We believe that this building will change lives for generations to come.”

John and Mary Alford were unwavering supporters of COTC and Ohio State Newark for several decades. Through their early involvement and the continued involvement of their children, they helped shape the college and university’s co-located, cost-shared partnership as a model for other institutions of higher education around the country. In recognition of their parents’ tremendous support of the local community and specifically the Newark campus, Ronald Alford and Barbara Cantlin, along with Barbara’s husband, Michael, contributed a generous lead gift. The leadership of Ohio State Newark and COTC are proud to honor Mr. and Mrs. Alford’s extraordinary legacy of community involvement and support by naming this new facility the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology.

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor’s degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.