MANSFIELD — Next year, North Central State College plans to open the Crawford Connection Center in Bucyrus. Thanks to the Timken Foundation, that goal is one step closer.
Several people from Crawford County gathered inside the college’s Fallerius Building on Aug. 14. The foundation presented a $500,000 donation to the NC State Foundation that will go towards preparing the new facility.
It will be located inside the 7,000-square-foot building on Walnut Street, the former home to the Crawford County Board of Elections and Health Department. When the $2.1 million project is complete, the education facility will include three high-tech classrooms, a computer lab and a counseling room.
Bucyrus Timken Plant Manager Bob Hiltbrand presented the check. He recalled that when Crawford: 20/20 Vision was in the early planning stages, education was a topic the steering committee wanted to address.
“We decided a local facility was needed, and this fits the Timken Foundation’s goals,” Hiltbrand commented. He noted the foundation, which is a separate entity from the Timken Company, has donated several million to Crawford County over the years.
The project is a collaborative effort between the college, the Crawford County Commissioners, the Crawford County Education and Economic Development Partnership, the Community Foundation for Crawford County, CC Jobs and Family Services, Pioneer Career and Technology Center and several area companies.
Dr. Dorey Diab, president of NC State, thanked Hiltbrand for the donation, and the others in attendance for their help with planning the Crawford Connection Center.
“This will bring the community and education together,” said Diab. He added there is still much to be done between now and when the facility opens to students in the fall of 2015.
The curriculum is in development. The center will offer both on-site instruction and online courses.
Betty Preston, NC State vice president of institutional advancement, credited retired orthodontist Dr. Joseph Shadeed as the person who pushed for an education center.
Dave Williamson, executive director of CCEEDP, added that in recent years outreach classes have been offered at Bucyrus High School. The center will offer a collegiate setting allowing students to take classes near home.
“The site is perfect for Crawford County with its size and central location,” Williamson concluded.
The project will be further aided by an Ohio Community Projects grant of $850,000, thanks in part to the advocacy of State Representative Jeff McClain.
The NC State Foundation will look to the long-term future by considering endowments and fundraisers to cover operating costs for the first five years. Preston said they would love additional partners for the project.