The Pataskala Area Chamber of Commerce will formally welcome the Central Ohio Technical College to the new Pataskala campus Thursday morning, with talks by Dr. Bonnie Coe and Mayor Steve Butcher and an informal tour of the facility.

The Pataskala Area Chamber of Commerce will formally welcome the Central Ohio Technical College to the new Pataskala campus Thursday morning, with talks by Dr. Bonnie Coe and Mayor Steve Butcher and an informal tour of the facility.

The chamber president said the Oct. 28 reception is a display of the value that local businesses believe the school brings to Pataskala. The Rotary Club also will be present.

COTC has been operating in a temporary, transitional space in Pataskala since fall 2006. Classes began at the new campus in the summer quarter, which started June 21. The campus is in the former Grand Host East, 8660 E. Broad St.

"We want to welcome the new facility to the area," chamber president Bart Weiler said. "The chamber is inviting everyone to come and join us for the festivities. Businesses are welcome, and the Rotary Club is having a meeting at that time."

Weiler said COTC helps employers directly by providing training for the business and indirectly by helping provide a good labor pool.

"Especially for business, COTC can help educate our workforce and provide events and seminars for employers and employees," Weiler said. "That's inviting for new businesses to locate here, to have those resources available. Technical college is a driving force in our area and in Licking County, in our manufacturing corridor. It's priceless to be able to train your workforce. They can train specifically at the individual company's request. From a business standpoint, it's valuable to our area."

COTC president Coe said the school sees the reception as an opportunity to thank its early supporters.

"The theme of the celebration is to acknowledge those individuals in the community who planted the seed that has brought our campus to Pataskala," Coe said. "Our mission is simply stated: to meet the training and educational needs of that community. We're all about technical education."

COTC development director Jennifer Roberts said the reception was a thank-you.

"Many people championed bringing Central Ohio Technical College to the community," Roberts said. "Now that we've opened our doors and successfully completed our first quarter in our new building, this is to thank the community for helping to bring us here."

Julie Maurer, Pataskala campus administrator, said the Pataskala campus has about 500 students and houses some of COTC's full-time staff and programs, in addition to its main campus at Newark.

"Pataskala has proven to be very significant in providing access for students to our programs," Maurer said. "We have been approved as a full-service campus, in terms of our level of accreditation. Even though we're only 4 years old (in a temporary space in Pataskala), we can offer full degree programs on our campus, and students do not have to go to Newark. We have a three-county service area, but we draw from a 12-county area."

Maurer said about half of the students are from Franklin County.