Eastland Fairfield Career Center could double the number of satellite programs offered at Gahanna Lincoln High School when the GLHS Learning Center opens its doors.

Eastland Fairfield Career Center could double the number of satellite programs offered at Gahanna Lincoln High School when the GLHS Learning Center opens its doors.

In August, the school board voted unanimously to purchase 6.8 acres at 83 N. Hamilton Road from Stonehenge Co. for $5.6-million. On Sept. 15, the district closed on the property. Bird Houk Collaborative was selected to design the new learning center at a special Nov. 19 school board meeting.

Eastland Fairfield Career Center currently operates an international business program and architecture program at GLHS.

School board president Jeff Carson said one of Eastland Fairfield's primary goals is to increase enrollment. One way to do that is to increase satellite programs in Gahanna.

Adding satellite programs is beneficial to the school district because it means dual college credit to Gahanna students, Carson said.

"That is not to say we don't have a need for the Eastland Fairfield main campus," he said. "Satellite programs are the future in Gahanna and surrounding communities."

A biotech program could be one satellite program, involving forensics and DNA and a career in criminal justice. Students could spend a half-day at GLHS and a half day at the police department, Carson said.

Another possible program is pre-nursing. The school district already has a relationship with Mount Carmel, so nursing would be a natural fit, Carson said. Students would spend a half-day at GLHS and a half-day at Mount Carmel.

Credits earned during the program would transfer to any college in the state of Ohio and many universities across the United States.

"Those are the ones that Eastland thinks will be beneficial with the way healthcare is and a wave of technology still untapped," Carson said. "It is a natural fit in the community."

Since the idea formed for the high school learning center, the intent was to offer dual high school and college credit. Because Eastland Fairfield already has relationships with three universities, Carson said, it didn't make sense to reinvent the wheel.

While students from other high schools are eligible to attend the satellite programs, Carson said Gahanna students will have priority. He said parents are excited about satellite programs because of the dual credit and the increasing cost of college.

"They understand dual credit means savings in the bank account," he said.

Attending satellite program, also offers students an opportunity to continue to participate in extracurricular activities at GLHS. Students who get involved in the district's art and athletic programs during their freshman and sophomore years generally don't want to leave.

Teresa Derkin of Eastland Fairfield Career Center said the career center is definitely interested in partnering with Gahanna to provide more opportunities for students.

"We already have two satellite programs at the school," she said. "Anytime we can provide more opportunities I'm all for that."

Derkin said satellite programs offer students an opportunity to take advantage of career education without leaving their high school. Sometimes students are hesitant to leave their high school campus because they are entrenched in the culture, she said.

Assistant superintendent Mark White said the satellite program is an opportunity to offer more choices to students.

"This generation today learns in different ways, takes different types of courses," he said. "There is a lot of respect for Eastland Fairfield courses and satellites especially."

Biotech and pre-nursing are a good fit for GLHS, White said, because there will be job growth in biotech and nursing.

"It is critical to stay ahead of where the world is going these days," White said.