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New Proctorville Center opens for classes

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 11, 2007) -- The new $4.9 million Ohio University Proctorville Center in Proctorville, Ohio, is hosting classes for the first time during winter quarter. Formal open houses will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, for local businesses to tour and from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, for community members.

Proctorville Center photo courtesy of Ohio University Southern.The Proctorville Center is a satellite site of Ohio University's Southern campus in Ironton. It offers 40 classes and has students registered for more than 1,700 credit hours this winter. 

The center boasts 18,000 square feet of floor space that make up 11 instructional spaces, a kitchen area, a compressed video room, a business training area and faculty offices. The old site of the Proctorville Center offered just three traditional classrooms, an art room and a computer lab in an approximately 4,000-square-foot area. 

"The new Proctorville Center provides us with endless possibilities and room for continuing growth. There has always been the desire and need in the community, and now we can develop community programs and completion programs to better serve the area," said Stephanie Burcham, the center's director. 

Burcham said people have been stopping in off the street to see what the center has to offer. 

"Community and education is something that Ohio University Southern has prided itself on, not only for those wanting a college education but all students from schoolchildren to senior citizens," Burcham said. "Before, we were so limited in physical space we had to stop offering those nontraditional classes. Now we'll be able to offer them again."

The new building that contains the Proctorville Center is named "Greg Smith Hall." In 2000, local businessman Marshall Smith donated 19 acres to Ohio University to build the new center in memory of his late son, Greg.

Another key figure in the project was late Procterville resident Bernard Edwards, a former Ohio University Southern Coordinating Council member. Edwards and Smith helped raise more than $2 million for the Procterville Center during Ohio University's Bicentennial Campaign.

Besides Edwards and Smith, Burcham thanked Vice President for University Outreach and Regional Campuses Charles P. Bird for his vision for the center.

"Dr. Bird had a vision for the center that was similar to the university's rapidly growing Pickerington Center in Fairfield County," Burcham said. "He supported this project from start to finish and made us realize that operating a highly successful academic center in eastern Lawrence County was possible."

"I am so proud of the commitment of our Southern campus staff, faculty, and community leadership," Bird said. "The Proctorville Center is a beautiful facility that will serve Lawrence County for years to come and I look forward to watching its enrollment grow and educational opportunities expand."

Ohio University courses were first offered in Proctorville in 1979 at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds. From 1980-1990 they were held in Fairland High School and for the two following years at the Chesapeake Community Center. Since 1992, Ohio University courses in Proctorville had been offered in an annex of the Proctorville Village Hall. In 2001, university officials changed the name of the center from the Eastern Lawrence County Center to the Proctorville Center. 

A formal dedication ceremony for the new Proctorville Center will be held during spring quarter.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Specialist George Mauzy at 740-597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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