College coming to London?

By Jane Beathard

May 1, 2014

Madison County may soon be home to an institution of higher learning.

London City Council on Thursday discussed selling the former London High School building at 60 S. Walnut St. to organizers of the fledgling Brightway Institute.

Proposed selling price: $1.

Brightway leaders want to house both adult re-training programs and a two-year technical college in the now-vacant structure, according to Bill Pizzino, a volunteer spokesman for the group.

According to Pizzino’s LinkedIn page, “the institute is being formed as a 2-year community college for those students shut out of traditional educational opportunities.”

The social networking website continues to state, Brightway will have sports teams in the areas of football, basketball, track and baseball/softball. We are finalizing plans to secure a building in London. After the building is secured, renovations will start.”

The institute is a Christian college for “young adults choosing a holistic career path … with a focus on college prep/vocation training, life-skills training and participation in an extracurricular activity such as a sports team or the performing arts,” the institute’s website states.

The former London High School gym — now the London Community Center — is included in the sale.

London Safety-Services Director Steve Hume said the city will continue to hold evening and weekend sports programs in the community center through a lease agreement with Brightway.

“We will get the same use out of the building that we currently have,” Hume said.

The London Academy, bus garage and former primary school at the corner of East High and Walnut streets will remain in city hands. They are not part of the sale.

An agreement between Brightway and the city will govern use of joint parking areas, Hume said.

Sale documents require Brightway to use the building for educational purposes only. Otherwise, it reverts to city ownership, Hume added.

Discussions regarding the sale began late last year and stemmed from a relationship between Pizzino and Bill Blazer of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce. The two are former employees of Ohio Dominican University. Pizzino lives in Darby Township.

Mayor Dave Eades said both London and Marysville were among central Ohio cities considered for the institute.

A two-year technical college poses “tremendous economic opportunities” for London, Hume noted. It will bring new residents — faculty and students — to the area and attract manufacturing businesses.

Pizzino complimented London officials for their cooperation.

“The city has been really great,” he said.

Former high school athletes will make up a large percentage of the student body. However, enrollment is open to all. Graduates will fill the area’s high-demand technical jobs, Pizzino said.

Initial offerings will include classes in megatronics and automotive electronics. Megatronics is the broad-based repair of production line equipment. Adult workplace development programs are slated to open by the end of 2014. Associate degree programs will start by fall 2015, Pizzino said.

The institute is currently seeking accreditation through an established local college or university, Hume said.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.