Two years after the Batavia Ford transmission plant closed its doors the University of Cincinnati celebrated its new UC East facility Thursday, Oct. 28.
UC spent the summer remodeling the administrative building at the plant and began holding classes in the building in September.
“Today is an important day in the history of Clermont College and Clermont County,” UC Clermont Dean Gregory Sojka told the crowd gathered for the opening ceremony. “In the past this building was located on Front Wheel Drive and was known as a place of opportunity and prosperity for families. Then it became a symbol of failure and abandonment. The lights were off and everyone had gone home. But today the lights are on and there are cars in the parking lot. We can move into a future of promise, hope, and prosperity.”
The facility was remodeled to allow Clermont College and UC's Clifton campus students to study allied health, nursing, criminal justice, education, and human services in state-of -the-art classrooms and laboratories.
"The real transformation will take place everyday with the students and staff," Sojka said.
UC President Gregory Williams said the transformation at UC East encompasses many things.
"There is the transformation of lives, the transformation of education, and the transformation of our knowledge of the future," Williams said. "UC East brings all those things together."
Dean of the College of Nursing Andrea Lindell said the new location is ideal.
"This geographic location is in one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio," Lindell said.
Sojka said the expanded opportunities for Clermont County students will encourage more local residents to go to college, something Sojka believes is vital for economic recovery.
"We are committed to going to where the students are," Sojka said. "We want to make sure we're meeting the needs of the Clermont community."
Sojka said that while UC East is a wonderful facility the university must continue to develop to ensure they are meeting the needs of tomorrow's students.
"We can't stop and rest on our laurels with this dedication," Sojka said. "We must continue to work together to make opportunities available to students in our service area."
Sojka said the building is now on the renamed James E. Sauls Sr. Road.
"He was a great benefactor of Clermont College and the community," Sojka said.