RIO GRANDE — Ohio Department of Education Chancellor Randy Gardner stopped to tour the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College Tuesday and discuss funding issues with college officials.
While touring the nursing and welding program facilities, Rio Grande Community College and University of Rio Grande President Ryan Smith discussed Rio’s educational focuses and partnerships.
Smith was named president of the college partnership in late September and resigned his position as the former Ohio state representative for the 93rd district.
“He’s actually been on a tour of all the schools of Ohio,” said Smith of Gardner. “He did four in southern Ohio, today…I’ve known him for a long time since I’d been in the legislature. (Gardner) is also a big basketball fan so we went to do a Bevo (Francis) tour.”
Smith and Gardner discussed the capital bill and potential funding for the college campus.
The capital budget typically focuses on the more dire needs of state government, economic development and schools. The Ohio House and Senate work to pass capital budget bills to fund target projects. The funding of such projects is often a process partnering leaders from economic development, the arts and others who can advise on the strength of project investments.
Capital bill funding provided Rio Grande Community College $1.67 million in 2016 for the creation of the its Jackson class site.
“Like most schools, when we have a lot of deferred maintenance we need to take care of,” said Smith of when talks occur about the capital budget. “HVAC systems need overhauled, things like that. That’s part of it. We’re looking at IT systems for an upgrade so they work more efficiently. The staff here has done what I consider an excellent job keeping up an outdated system, but at some point we have to get where we need to go so it can work more efficiently and offer us the potential of doing more things like increasing campus security and other good upgrades.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.