EGCC to lease Atrium space


Warren mayor likes downtown location

By Denise Dick

denise_dick@vindy.com

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Eastern Gateway Community College hopes to begin offering classes in January at the Kleese Atrium building in downtown Warren.

“The very idea of community college is to provide greater opportunities for residents for a cost-effective education,” Molly Seals, chairwoman of the EGCC board of trustees, said at an announcement Wednesday of the Warren space that will be called the Warren Center.

The EGCC board approved the lease of 2,130 square feet on the first floor of the West Market Street building. The cost is $13 per square foot or about $27,000 annually.

The lease runs through June with an option at that time of more space and an additional three years.

The space will include one classroom, a computer lab and three offices for student services.

The additional area allows the college to reach more people across the four-county region that includes Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Jefferson counties.

Laura Meeks, EGCC president, said the college includes about 400 students and expects 750 students in the spring.

“Every semester we want to double our enrollment, and we’re on track for doing that,” she said.

The Warren Center will offer classes during the day, complementing evening classes offered at Trumbull Career and Technical Center, Meeks said.

That mirrors facilities in Mahoning County. Day classes are offered at the Valley Center in the Forum Health building with evening classes at both Choffin and Mahoning County Career and Technical Centers. Some day classes, however, will be offered at MCCTC starting this spring, said Ann Koon, an EGCC spokeswoman.

Evening classes also are available at Columbiana Career and Technical Center.

Among the courses planned in January at the new facility are nutrition, introduction to business, public speaking and general psychology.

Mayor Michael J. O’Brien said the city is pleased the college chose to locate not only in Warren but in its downtown central business district.

The new college, combined with other businesses and facilities downtown, means more foot traffic, benefiting merchants, he said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, has requested $1 million in the pending federal budget to support operation of the Warren Center as well as EGCC’s work with Youngstown Early College.

The Mahoning Valley was the only urban area in Ohio without a community college, he said.

Ryan said the college will help train people in the area for the jobs that are available.

Members of ACTION, Alliance for Congregational Transformation Influencing Our Neighborhoods, a faith-based community organizing group, said they support EGCC and its expansion.

ACTION, which its executive director said hopes for a bricks-and-mortar community college in the Mahoning Valley, gathered 5,000 signatures from people in the community in support of establishment of a community college.

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