McCurdy: Downtown Rhodes State project on schedule

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Despite a few hiccups this past fall, Rhodes State College’s downtown campus expansion is on schedule with its previously stated 2020 Q4 completion date.

“Hopefully, we will be able to announce a projected kickoff and the groundbreaking date very shortly,” Rhodes State President Debra McCurdy said.

As this point, many of the players and pieces needed for the later planning stage have been identified and set, McCurdy said. Both an architect and project management group have already been designated, and with the land in hand, next steps include finalizing the square footage, signing the contracts and identifying the programs that are to be located in the building.

Just this past week, McCurdy and a group of 15 other college officials visited Toledo to review a building the college may use as a template for the design of the new Center for Health Science Education and Innovation to be built on the southeast corner of Lima’s Town Square.

While McCurdy won’t be president when the center is finished due to her departure in the spring to take the reins of Baltimore City Community College, she said that won’t change the board’s or next administration’s commitment to the project. By the time she leaves in three to four months, the project should be well into the design phase.

“You don’t stop a project because an administrator has changed,” McCurdy said. “The board is behind the project and continues to push it forward.”

As for McCurdy’s replacement, not much has been said publicly about the college’s recruitment efforts. But the final decision on who will replace the will ultimately be made by the college’s board of trustees.

“The board will begin to have that discussion shortly and have some sense about how they will handle the transition,” McCurdy said.

McCurdy has been president of Rhodes State since 2006, when she replaced Earl Keese.

Rhodes State College’s downtown campus has had a rocky road since initially announced in 2014. First slated for completion in 2017, the $20 million project had been tied up due to difficulties acquiring downtown parcels needed for the building. Those difficulties were resolved just this past year, and the new completion date of 2020 was set.

This past fall, the college’s board switched architects for the project from BHDP Architecture to Munger Munger & Associates due to the first firm’s unwillingness to agree to a cap on fees instituted by the college, which pushed the project’s completion date from the fall of 2020 to Dec. 2020.

“(The Center) is alive and very well and it will serve the community and Rhodes State in the manner that it was intended,” McCurdy said.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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