Opportunities grow inside Kent State Geauga’s Burton campus

Rachel Walker

The Berkshire Local School District’s new K-12 school is set to break ground on Kent State Geauga’s Burton campus in summer 2019.

The school plans on welcoming 1,250 students in a merger between Berkshire and Ledgement schools in Geauga County. The goal is to connect the Berkshire school system with Kent State Geauga and the business community.

This school is a part of Berkshire’s Partnerships for Rural Innovative Models of Education initiative, which was created in order to encourage students to become excited about higher education.

HB 148, a bipartisan bill passed in 2016, assisted this partnership by giving priority funding to schools resulting in mergers and demonstrating “an efficient use of facility space as determined by the Commission.”

PRIME is a partnership between Berkshire Schools, Geauga Growth Partnership, Auburn Career Center and Kent State University.

The goal of PRIME is to build a bridge for students and the career paths they may pursue after high school. The Board of Trustees approved the funding for the school on Geauga’s campus in September.

The Board of Trustees have welcomed this partnership with open arms according to Nathan Ritchey, the vice president of system integration at Kent State University.

Board of Trustees

Kent State University’s unique community partnerships are what make newly elected Board of Trustee member Rob Frost so passionate about the university.

“We are looking to do other partnerships like this one because it is such a great opportunity to involve the community,” Frost said. “These young students can get college credit for attending the school right next to them and then make the college transition that much easier.”

Students will not only be able to acquire college credit at Kent State Geauga, but also alleviate some of the post-high school transition stress by giving students the chance to attend college right next to their school.

The K-12 school will sit right on Kent State Geauga’s Burton campus and form a functioning community according to Larry Froehlich, Ritchey’s assistant.

The long term goal of PRIME as seen by the Kent State community is for the ground to be developed near in a way which invites more people to the area. This could include bringing in a YMCA, radio stations and a community center to the campus grounds.

Ritchey stressed the amount of community growth opportunities the PRIME school brings to Kent State Geauga.

The idea of a K-12 school sitting on Kent State’s campus is not something new. Kent State University had a K-12 school on its main campus from when the university formed, until 1982. The Kent State University School defined a huge part of Kent State’s history.

Rachel Walker is the regional campuses reporter. Contact her at [email protected].