One of Ohio’s largest career schools is getting bigger after buying a part of the former Americana Amusement Park site for a new school campus in Monroe, the Journal-News first reported Monday.
Butler Tech officials said the $2.75 million purchase of 36 acres along the western border of Monroe will lead to a new adult education campus for the career school system.
The property along Ohio Route 4 just south of the State Route 63 intersection includes the adjacent lot of what used to be Couch’s Campers as well as the former amusement park property.
The area will be developed in conjunction with the city of Monroe, which recently announced plans to convert a section of the former Americana property into park space.
“Our secondary enrollment is at its highest level in history and our five current campuses are nearing capacity,” said Butler Tech Superintendent and CEO Jon Graft. “Acquiring this property allows us to increase our educational space in a cost-efficient manner, while also giving a new life to one of the most nostalgic sites in Butler County.”
Work on the new Butler Tech campus will first focus on renovation of an existing 27,000 square foot building and an adjacent 13,000 square foot high-bay building, according to Butler Tech officials.
Officials said they hope to have adult education classes in the new space by August 2018, but have not yet determined what fields of career education and training will be offered.
The joint development plan also includes an easement for a public road through the Butler Tech property that will connect Monroe’s park space to Ohio Route 4.
“The city of Monroe welcomes Butler Tech’s investment at our western gateway,” William Brock, city manager of Monroe, said. “They are an outstanding educational institution that will revitalize currently underutilized properties which have held a valued history in Monroe.”
Property owner Jerry Couch said he sold the 36 acres to the career school “to get some good use out of the property … we wanted it to be for a good purpose.”
“The same way with the back part that will go to the city,” he said. “(The city) will be able to make a nice bike trail and park out of it. The history will live on in the long run. It may not be an amusement park, but it will be something for the public.”
The expansion by Butler Tech is the latest in an aggressive push in recent years to broaden both its number of campuses and partnerships with local governments and industry throughout Butler County.
The Monroe campus is the second new school opened since 2015 when the Butler Tech’s Bioscience Center began operations in West Chester Twp.
Plans are now underway to expand that campus to increase capacity for high school and adult programming by adding an additional wing.
Butler Tech serves adult career students and high school students from 10 Butler County and northern Hamilton County school systems.
Butler Tech is also adding a second CDL Training site in Dayton in partnership with Montgomery County, The Dayton Foodbank and Central State University to help meet the regional demand for trained, professional drivers.
Staff writer Nick Graham contributed to this story.