LIMA — The site of the upcoming Rhodes State College Center for Health Science Education and Innovation on Town Square has undergone significant changes with the demolition of several buildings in that area. Speaking to the Lima Noon Optimist Club on Wednesday, Rhodes State President Debra McCurdy gave a progress report for the project while outlining how it can benefit both the college and the community.
“We’re still waiting for the next part of the demolition to begin,” she said. “We’ll start doing programming pretty soon, but we have to wait until all the demolition is complete, and it’s almost there.”
Waiting for the last demolitions could affect the final completion date for the center, McCurdy said.
“There’s still all the background work that has to happen, like the programming, the prepping of the site and so forth,” she said. “All the design work and such has to happen, but the good news is that people can see that the project has started and what a difference it will make downtown.”
McCurdy praised the overall positive response from the community to the project.
“People have been very supportive, and there have been lots of positive nods,” she said. “Probably the biggest conversation we have is where the parking will be, and if that’s the worst problem we have, it’s a good thing.”
Expanding its health science education programs is a strong indicator of growth for the college, McCurdy said, especially with medical services becoming increasingly in demand.
“If you look at 2020 and all the stats on where there is going to be growth in jobs and professional areas, health sciences is huge,” she said. “In the next few years, we have areas that will have 20 to 30 percent shortages in the health areas. The great news is that we can say we’re in a health hub, so we should be one of those first providers for all of the health entities in this area.”
McCurdy said that the city would work through the demolition of the last couple of properties. However, the city of Lima Public Works Department said there were no immediate plans to demolish any more structures.