Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Career center heads south


Some residents weren't going to Lebanon

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TWP. - With the boxes nearly empty and all the computers plugged in, the Warren County Career Center is readying for its first classes on its south campus.

Today marks the opening of the new location, housed in the ground floor of the Kings Education Center, 1797 King Ave.

"As we did our market studies, we found a lot of people from this end of the county that weren't coming up to our Lebanon location," said Mary Jane Perry, the center's assistant superintendent. "We thought if we had more of a southern campus, we could serve more people down here."

The seven-classroom location includes a lab that specializes in customized training programs for business and industry, as well as employee assessment testing. It also has two offices and a portable computer lab.

The center, open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, also will offer adult students many of the business and industry courses the center offers in Lebanon. Eventually, weekend classes should be available, Perry said.

The career center has been preparing for the move for months. In December, the adult information technology labs at the main campus were closed so the equipment could be transferred to the Kings Education Center.

Built in 1895, the KEC building once housed all the Kings district students. The remodeling project was supposed to be finished for last school year, but heavy rains pushed back the completion date.

The Kings administration and preschool classes moved in at the start of this school year.

"It's fun because this all used to be an elementary school so all the blackboards are down here," Perry said as she pointed to the lower half of a wall. "We have these 280-pound guys from factories who come in to take classes and I had visions of them having to bend down to see the board. So we had to have all the blackboards raised."

They also upgraded the restroom facilities.

Perry expects the new location will let the career center expand beyond the more than 7,000 adult students and 400 businesses it served last year. "I believe this brings a new opportunity for enrichment," she said. "We hope it will allow more people get a new level of workplace skills and therefore, a better level of living."

The public will get a chance to tour the facility during an open house this spring.

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




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