Expanding its work in precision agriculture, Springfield, Ohio-based Clark State Community College now officially occupies an airplane hangar to be used for a variety of projects related to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Located at the Springfield-Beckley Airport Business Park, the Ohio Center of Precision Agriculture Hangar was dedicated at a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 31. The hangar will also be outfitted with a small computer lab.
“Clark State has one of the most extensive and long-standing agriculture offerings found at any community college in Ohio,” says Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State, in a press release from the school. “Clark State has developed the region’s only for-credit degree program in precision agriculture – one that provides students not only with classroom-based learning but with hands-on technical training at the Airpark Ohio UAS test range, located at the Springfield Municipal Airport.”
For the hangar, the City of Springfield received state capital dollars, which were appropriated through the board of regents. In order to access the funds, the city entered into a joint use agreement (JUA) with Clark State.
“The JUA requires that the city show benefit to the educational entity – and this is where we tied into Clark State’s emerging precision agriculture program,” explains Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development for the City of Springfield.
Besides precision agriculture, the hangar space will also be used for non-credit training focused on Part 107 licensing, as well as training for drone applications including law enforcement, inspections, and search and rescue.
Blondin adds, “Precision agriculture is a very time-critical process – farmers need to get access to the data quickly – and this will show students in real time how the data processing can be done quickly to get them acclimated to the real-world time issues that farmers face.”