National College, which offers degrees in the business, computer and health care fields nationwide, plans to open its 25th location this spring in the Columbus Square Shopping Center.

National College, which offers degrees in the business, computer and health care fields nationwide, plans to open its 25th location this spring in the Columbus Square Shopping Center.

The school has spent $1.4-million to renovate more than 20,700 square feet in the former Sears Hardware building, 5665 Forest Hills Blvd., in the northeast portion of the shopping center.

The school will feature 10 lecture classrooms, four computer classrooms and laboratories. The college offers more than 40 academic programs.

George Hadler, president of The Hadler Companies, which owns the shopping center, said the school is an ideal tenant because it will bring repeat traffic.

"The best tenants for a shopping center are those who cater to repeat customers, and the nature of a business college will draw students to the center once or twice a week for each term they're enrolled," Hadler said. "We know from experience that the students and teachers will shop our other stores as a matter of convenience."

With the opening of the school, 80 percent of Columbus Square's 550,000 square feet of retail space will be leased, Hadler said.

The Hadler Companies has focused on reinvesting in the nearly 30-year-old center since 2006 to attract and retain tenants.

The center has enhanced its landscaping, renovated some of its spacing and updated signage. There also have been efforts to make the center more pedestrian friendly, and a farmers market was added last summer.

The company also completed a major renovation last year of the Columbus Square Bowling Palace, which it also owns.

National College President Frank Longaker said the school chose the Columbus Square location because of its easily accessed location.

While other businesses are scaling back because of the economy, he said National College still has room to grow.

"Despite the current state of the economy, there is still significant job growth potential in the career fields we teach," he said.

The school offers more than 40 academic programs, including some bachelor's degrees, associate's degrees, diploma programs and master's of business administration.

Classes are scheduled to begin at the school this spring.

National College, which has been around since 1886, also has Ohio locations in Cincinnati, Kettering, Stow and Youngstown.

More than 10,000 students attend the school.