Ozarks Technical Community College is planning for continued growth, and at Monday night’s Springfield City Council meeting, the city signed on to the school's vision for the future.
Council members listened to college and city officials – as well as some community members – make the case for the city to adopt the OTC Master Plan as part of the Springfield Comprehensive Plan.
According to City Senior Planner Randall Whitman, OTC's current plan has been amended three times since it was adopted in 1998.
“Each time, it was amended ... to allow the college to expand one parcel at a time,” he said. “(This plan) seeks to abandon that approach by allowing OTC a larger parcel of land in which to plan and grow its educational facilities long-term.”
The plan involves 20 acres to the north and west of the OTC campus, which the school hopes to utilize during a multiphase expansion that could take at least 10 years, according to Whitman.
A 4.5-acre expansion to the west is already in the works with the demolition of the Tindle Mills property, he said. Other portions of the area the school seeks to expand into aren’t yet owned by OTC, including almost half of the 60 properties to the north of the campus.
“We are taking a very strong, neighborly approach,” said Rob Rector, vice president of administrative services for OTC. He noted that the school has purchased homes on the brink of foreclosure in the area, leasing them back to the previous owners at affordable rates.
Rector said the school serves 9,000 students on a Springfield campus designed to serve 6,000. Classrooms and parking are at capacity, he said, and some health care programs have been moved to campuses that could accommodate their growth. OTC’s Master Plan addresses those needs.
“The plan includes, but is not limited to, expansion of multilevel facilities for classrooms, expansion of programs, expansion of parking, including multilevel parking facilities, and expansion of facilities for central operations and administration,” Rector said.
Council members approved the ordinance unanimously.
Read more City Council news in the May 24 issue of Springfield Business Journal. [[In-content Ad]]
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