Lackawanna College project boosts city and tech education
Just 20 years ago, the idea of making education and health care a foundation of Scranton’s economy produced a fair amount of eye-rolling among people who had heard it all before.
Today, however, the vastly expanded role of “meds and eds” in the area is a reality in terms of economic impact and in their impressive physical footprint.
The list is long. It includes the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, significant modernization and expansion at the University of Scranton, new programs and facilities at thriving Johnson College, the school of architecture at Marywood University and hundreds of millions of dollars of investments by major health systems in hospitals and high-tier services, including Lehigh Valley Health System’s newly opened hospital in Dickson City and Geisinger Health System’s impending construction nearby of an oncology center.
The latest addition is a great project by Lackawanna College to create an $18 million Center for Technology Innovation from the bones of a long moribund office building, the former Scranton Center and later, Adams Plaza, at Mulberry Street and Adams Avenue.
This is the latest chapter in Lackawanna’s recent history of creating academic programs in response to known needs, and future needs, in the region’s workforce. The center will offer degree and certificate programs and corporate continuing education in robotics, cybersecurity and advanced automobile technology. And, LC will offer opportunities for more high school students to get an early start on higher education.
The project, which will be funded partially by $4 million in state economic development grants, also will transform the building into a far more vibrant downtown presence.
Regional economic development officials long have lamented that an inadequate skilled workforce in the area is an impediment to expanding local businesses and attracting new ones. The LC project surely will be a partial answer to that, and a welcome improvement to the downtown economy and landscape.