Ohio State Marion’s Delaware Center is scheduled to close its doors to students and staff and move its course offerings to the nearby Columbus State Delaware campus.
The Delaware Center, located at 7774 Graphics Way in Lewis Center, teaches about 800 OSU students every quarter on its one-building campus. The Center has been open since 2001 and is scheduled to close before Autumn Quarter.
Ohio State Marion Dean Gregory S. Rose said the goal of the collaboration is to combine resources so more students will receive four-year degrees.
Rose said there was no single reason for the Delaware Center’s closure. Rose cited a new Columbus State facility about 10 minutes away from the Columbus Center and the end of the Delaware Center’s current lease as major points for the change.
“We’re looking to meet the state of Ohio’s expectations in increasing college enrollment,” said Michael J. Boehm, Ohio State provost for academic planning.
The state of Ohio’s higher education goals call for a 230,000 enrollment increase and a 20 percent graduation rate improvement by 2017, according to a Feb. 10 OSU press release.
Rose said administrators were following “OSU’s commitment to the concepts of higher education collaboration outlined in the strategic plan for the University System of Ohio.”
Rose said the new collaboration will lower costs for students and offer a more streamlined education.
“Increasing enrollments at the Delaware Center have demonstrated Delaware’s desirability as an entry point to higher education,” Rose said.
According the their websites, Columbus State charges $79 per credit hour while Ohio State regional campus full-time students pay about $2,000 per quarter.
“It’s cheaper to go to Columbus State, but students want to be at Ohio State,” Lohre said.
To some staff and faculty, the transition will be nothing more than an address change, but others will be left out in the cold.
“It makes sense to let employees know of the closing,” Lohre said. “We were stunned.”
While the school has yet to announce any staff or faculty cuts, Rose said roughly two-thirds of the academic course schedule will move to Columbus State.
Wes Sohlden, a fourth-year in operations management at OSU’s main campus who took classes at the Delaware Center, said the level of education on the main campus is inferior to what he received at the Delaware Center.
“I got a lot of one-on-one interaction,” Sohlden said. “On main campus, instructors show up to class with their PowerPoint and then leave.”
Mohamed Ali, a second-year in molecular genetics at the Delaware Center, said he will miss the small class sizes.
“This place was cut down,” Ali said. “This really hurts students.”
The closing leaves many students, staff and faculty looking for a new Buckeye home.
“It feels like we’ve failed,” Lohre said. “This is not the right way to treat people who’ve done their job exceedingly well.”