Tourism is big business in Ottawa and Erie counties. To prepare local students for a career in tourism, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, a leader in regional amusement parks and water parks, will join with Bowling Green State University to create a new $14 million building at 250 E. Market St. in Sandusky.
The new facility will be home to a new BGSU bachelor’s degree program in Resort and Attraction Management. The five-story, 78,000 square foot mixed-use building will include classrooms, meeting spaces, offices, retail and 80 residential units.
The total project cost is mainly funded by Cedar Fair, but includes $800,000 provided by the State of Ohio. The City of Sandusky will provide the land, as well as other financial support, including gap financing and tax incentives.
Groundbreaking is set for Spring 2019 and construction will be facilitated by the Erie County Port Authority. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2020. It the first mixed-use building to be built in downtown Sandusky in more than 20 years.
BGSU’s new Bachelor of Science in Resort and Attraction Management program is designed to prepare managers for the multibillion-dollar resort and attraction industry. A degree-completion program offered through BGSU Firelands, it will be only the fourth such academic program in the world, and just the second in the U.S. This is the first program of its kind to specifically address the unique needs surrounding amusement parks and similar destinations.
Unique to the BGSU program is the partnership with Cedar Fair. The company will provide students on-the-job training opportunities through paid co-ops. The final two years of the program will be taught by BGSU faculty at the new facility.
“This is an innovative, high-demand bachelor’s degree and a unique partnership,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “It will benefit the University, Cedar Fair and Sandusky. As a public university, we are always looking at how best to serve our communities and be responsive to workforce needs.”
Duffield “Duff” Milkie, executive vice president and general counsel for Cedar Fair, said the company is very close to bringing this groundbreaking, higher education program to Sandusky. “By working with Bowling Green State University and the City of Sandusky, along with the efforts of Sen. Randy Gardner and Rep. Steve Arndt to obtain $800,000 in capital funding, this cross-sector collaboration will have a positive impact for all the organizations involved and for Sandusky’s future,” said Milkie.