April 24, 2014

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LCCC campus in Ridgeville packed with technology

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — In one classroom, a computerized mannequin simulates a human patient able to talk to health and nursing students about pain and other problems.

In another, students will learn about digital forensics with high-tech equipment to help them aid law enforcement in the ever-expanding realm of cyber-crimes ranging from child pornography to theft of protected software.

These are just two of the many cutting-edge features of the 46,000-square-foot, three-story University Partnership Ridge Campus of Lorain County Community College that is opening in phases near Lorain Road and Interstate 480.

While similar in nature to other LCCC outreach centers in Wellington, Lorain and Brunswick, the North Ridgeville facility is much larger and will offer far more courses with a focus on the ever-burgeoning information technology job market.

The modern, open and streamlined building and its orange, purple and mustard yellow color scheme has already drawn raves and some raspberries, according to Peggy Michener, executive coordinator of LCCC’s newest outreach center.

“I had one lady tell me it was a little clinical and sterile,” Michener said.

But others seem to get the high tech-centric look and feel of the place.

“Some said it is similar in appearance to work environments they’ve been in,” Michener said.

Ideally capable of accommodating 1,000 students, the center has been hosting some classes since the first week of January, but saw about 200 people come through during Thursday’s class registration fair.

There are currently about 100 LCCC and 80 to 100 University of Toledo students attending classes at the eco-friendly building that sports a partially “green” roof, water-saving devices, high-efficiency lighting and porous paving material, which allows rainwater to flow into a bioswale before entering city storm sewers.

The college’s 1,500 Allied Health and Nursing students will rotate in and out of the Patient Simulation Lab, where the sophisticated talking mannequins will be used to offer instruction in health problems ranging from heart issues to high blood pressure and respiratory troubles, according to Hope Moon, dean of LCCC’s Allied Health and Nursing program.

The lab will also be open to area paramedics and EMS personnel.

Area police and other law enforcement agencies will be able to make use of the Advanced Digital Forensics Institute, which is set to open March 25.

“We will train local police in this field and work with the FBI on cases as we are needed,” Michener said.

The computerized center will also aid criminal prosecutors, private attorneys and insurance companies investigating data loss and computer misuse, Michener said.

Community groups will also be able to use the campus’ computer lab and conference rooms.

The high-tech nature of the building is exemplified by a floor-to-ceiling windowed room housing yellow cabling and circuitry.

“That room runs all the computers in the building,” Michener said.

The center will expand class offerings Feb. 25 when it begins to offer a 10-week session of courses.

Classes will be offered by LCCC, as well as approximately a dozen Ohio colleges and universities through the University Partnership program. Those include the University of Akron, Ashland University, Bowling Green State University, John Carroll University, Kent State University and Youngstown State University.

The University of Toledo will have a larger presence at the North Ridgeville site through its Computer Science and Engineering degree program designed to teach students how install and maintain computer networks, Michener said.

The center hopes to draw students from not only Lorain County but western Cuyahoga County suburbs such as North Olmsted and Strongsville given its proximity to the county line and Interstate 480.

“The objective is to educate and train a workforce for the region’s IT jobs,” Michener said.

To learn more

For more about the campus, visit www.lorainccc.edu/ridge or call (440) 366-4800.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.