Tri Star 2.0 Officially Dedicated

Tri Star Director Tim Buschur addresses the crowd at the dedication ceremony for Tri Star 2.0.
Staff Writer

Two years to the day after the first shovelfuls of dirt were turned to signify the start of Tri Star 2.0, staff members, politicians and local leaders gathered in the commons of the completed building on Sunday afternoon to dedicate the new home of Tri Star Career Compact. 

The 101,177-square-foot building which houses 15 career technical educational courses was completed this summer. With the building complete, 2019 is the first year in the 36 years of the compact that all programs are under the same roof — an accomplishment that seemed almost impossible when it was first presented in 2015.

“On Feb. 11, 2015, at a Tri Star superintendent meeting, Mike Pohlman from Marion Local kind of joked about being under one roof,” Tri Star Director Tim Buschur said. “After serious discussion, the Tri Star superintendents told us to look into it and all nine schools offered their support. We’ve come a long way since that day.”

Through several discussions, planning meetings and a special election to pass a .95 mil, 15-year levy, the six locations for Tri Star could finally all have one place to call home, giving the compact its first central location.

And a beautiful home it is.

At one point, Buschur struggled to fight through tears as he was overcome with emotion while reading comments the staff have received from students.

“‘You want to learn,’ ‘It’s so professional, it feels like college,’ ‘We feel like adults,’” he read.

The $25 million property, acquired from Fishbaugh Farm, puts Tri Star 2.0 in a unique location — close to the boarder of Auglaize and Mercer counties and across the street from Wright State University — Lake Campus. This location makes Tri Star the only career technical education facility to be situated across the street from a four-year college, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Ohio Paolo DeMaria stated. 

The location of Tri Star and its partnership with the Lake Campus tied into DeMaria’s message as he spoke at the dedication that the more people work together, the more they can accomplish.

“The ultimate message in all of this is that when we work together, we will always be stronger,” DeMaria said.  

An expansion is several years down the line but if it becomes necessary, the compact has room to grow. 

With the increasing rate of students signing up for career tech classes and the ever increasing demand for skilled labor in the area, the construction of Tri Star 2.0 could not have come at a better time. Staff members noted that they had to create waiting lists in the past because of the volume of students interested in the classes. Although the new building has doubled the capacity of some programs, those extra spaces filled quickly.

And that is a trend that likely won’t be going anywhere any time soon.

“I’ve been in manufacturing for 30-some years and having talked with the employees out on our production floor who tell me about the need for skilled machinists, welders and students from our RecTech program so I see the benefits of Tri Star at my own job,” said Tri Star Advisory Board Chairperson Chris Falk. 

Falk and DeMaria were not the only ones to be impressed by the building and the classes taught within its walls as State Senator Matt Huffman (R — Lima) and State Auditor Keith Faber (R — Celina) spoke to the importance of education in the workforce while Steve Wilczynski, executive director of Fanning Howey, and Anne Frost, project manager for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, took time to thank the people who came together to make Tri Star 2.0 a reality.

During the dedication Sunday afternoon, Buschur also took time to thank all of the people who came together to make the completion of the building possible from the voting community who passed the levy at 75% to the designers, construction workers and maintenance staff. 

He noted that without them, the project would have been just a dream for the nine superintendents who had that first discussion four years ago.