Oil, gas industry training center in governor’s plan

LORDSTOWN – A plan to use more than six acres of former U.S. Army land to operate an oil and gas industry training center inside the Ohio Commerce Center could get a needed financial boost under a capital budget proposed by the governor.

The project would convert the former John Kunkel Army Reserve Center in Lordstown to a facility for student training and curriculum provided by Eastern Gateway Community College, Hiram College and area vocational schools.

“They could use the facility as a place to hold classes, to get their hands dirty,” said Dan Crouse, who along with Charles Joseph handles real estate issues for the Ohio Commerce Center. “The goal was to put welding labs in there, places where people can do experiments, hands-on repairs of equipment.”

The plan, announced Tuesday by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, would earmark $250,000 to upgrade classrooms and purchase oil and gas training equipment for use on land being donated by the U.S. military to Lordstown, Mayor Arno Hill said.

The land is located in the northeast corner of the Ohio Commerce Center, a rail transloading, business and warehouse center along state Route 45 in Lordstown.

“My goal is once we gain title to it, to go in there and bring everything up to snuff,” Hill said, adding that details are being worked out with EGCC and Hiram College.

The plan to donate the land and buildings came in an amendment added by U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Howland, to the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013. Under the plan, the village would receive the land at no cost with its promise to always maintain it for public use.