Miller said that OU leaders want to collaborate with other Dayton-area colleges. But OU will also try to make sure its Beavercreek location’s offerings do not overlap much with those at other area schools.
“I think that Wright State and the University of Dayton are excellent institutions,” Miller said. “But, I think that Ohio University has more to contribute and can support the growth of the Miami Valley by bringing some of our strengths in as well and our strengths are probably a little bit different than theirs.”
OU will become at least the fourth college to expand its offerings in southwest Ohio in the last year. Bowling Green State University is planning to open a state fire training facility in Piqua, Edison State Community College will open a location in Troy and Sinclair Community College has plans to turn Far Hills Church in Centerville into a new learning center.
Around $500,000 has been spent on renovations and updates to the Russ Research Center campus since OU acquired it in 2008, Miller said.
The campus is home to at least 10 organizations, including Wyle Laboratories, according to OU’s website. It has more than 194,000 square-feet of office and manufacturing space and around 5,000 square-feet of conference rooms and meeting spaces.
The donation of the research center in 2008 was part of a $124 million gift from the Russ’s to OU, according to news reports at the time. The couple also were longtime benefactors of engineering education at Wright State and Cedarville universities. In 1994, OU renamed its engineering school for them.
The couple has strong ties to the Dayton area. In 1948, Fritz Russ took a job as an electronics engineer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Dolores Fritz worked as an assistant chief of personnel management at the Aircraft Radiation Laboratory.
The upcoming class offerings at the Russ Research Center mark Ohio University’s latest expansion in the last few years. In 2014, the school opened its Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Columbus suburb of Dublin.