Students Will Find Enhanced Research and Career-Training Opportunities at New STEM Center


The new John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology on the shared Newark campus of The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) was dedicated on August 13 at a public ribbon-cutting ceremony and will open for classes this autumn semester. 

Conducting cancer-fighting drug-discovery research, protecting Ohio’s at-risk bumble bee populations, perfecting lifesaving healthcare skills in a state-of-the-art simulation center, and gaining access to critically needed in-demand STEM education. This is a small sampling of the teaching and research that will take place in the new $32 million, 60,000-square-foot building.

The new facility will offer students enhanced research space, state-of-the-art classrooms, interactive technology, dedicated spaces designed to encourage collaboration – and most importantly – opportunity. Watch a video tour of the Alford Center here.

Close to 100 attended the ribbon-cutting, which featured remarks from Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted; Congressman Troy Balderson; State Senator Jay Hottinger; Ohio State Newark Advisory Board Chair Talya Greathouse, MD; COTC Board Chair Robert Montagnese; COTC President John M. Berry, PhD; and Ohio State Newark Dean/Director William L. MacDonald, PhD.

Addressing the crowd of faculty and staff, campus leadership, donors, community members and other government officials, Lt. Gov. Husted noted that a workforce with advanced skills is critical to the success of Ohio’s businesses and economy and enhances the state’s marketplace competitiveness. While thanking the Alford and Cantlin families and other donors for their generosity, Husted pointed out that investing in education is an investment in the future.

COTC and Ohio State Newark will share all general classrooms, smart labs and common areas, and each institution has its own dedicated space within the building.

On the first floor, COTC students will learn in the Licking Memorial Health Systems Simulation Center. This multi-disciplinary space, mirroring an acute care hospital, contains two patient rooms, an emergency room and an operating room with an adjoining scrub-in station so COTC students can experience various realistic medical scenarios in a learning environment.

Ohio State Newark’s dedicated space includes the LeFevre Foundation Biology Suite, Newark Campus Development Fund Anatomy Suite and Melissa Warner Bow Earth Sciences Suite on the second floor, and the Ariel Corporation General Chemistry Suite, Raymond H. & Beryl Dean Penick Organic Chemistry Suite and Ariel Corporation Research Corridor on the third floor. With these new classrooms and labs, Ohio State Newark will offer more second-year courses so students can take advantage of the personalized nature of the Newark campus’s learning environment and lower tuition for an additional year before having to transition to the Columbus campus.

COTC and Ohio State Newark invested a combined $18 million, and 281 unique donors pledged nearly $14 million to support the construction of the building. Ohio State Newark and COTC recognize 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 for their support.

John and Mary Alford
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 and Michael Cantlin pledged a generous lead gift of $2.5 million. 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 honorifically naming this beautiful 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 COTC, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor’s degree program. Ohio State 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 has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.