COLUMBUS (WCMH) — You’ve probably enjoyed a meal or two at any of his several restaurants around Columbus.
Now you will see his name on a building at Columbus State Community College.
Columbus native Cameron Mitchell, who helped shape the hospitality and restaurant scene in central Ohio, is now helping to educate the workforce with the opening of Mitchell Hall at Columbus State Community College.
It’s expected that the hospitality industry will add 4,300 jobs here in central Ohio by 2024.
Mitchell said this new facility at Columbus State will give the future workforce the best resources in the nation.
“We have a best in class facility here and it’s really unparalleled across the country,” Mitchell said.
Students went from classes in the basement of one building to a brand-new, 80,000-square-foot facility that will double the enrollment capacity of the Hospitality and Culinary Arts program at Columbus State.
“With the windows, it just gives it a warmer feel,” said CSCC student April Parson. “It just lifts you up.”
There are more windows, larger classrooms, a third-floor mixology bar, and a student-run restaurant.
It’s all part of Mitchell’s plan to make sure the community he calls home is thriving.
“I want to make sure we understand, the tens of thousands of students that are going to come through this building over the next several decades, and the impact our best in class hospitality is going to deliver to them, is going to help change their lives, change the lives of this community and this wonderful state,” he said.
This new facility has already changed the life of Parson.
She was in prison for 18 years and the dream of owning her own food truck and restaurant almost didn’t happen.
Now she will learn in one of the best facilities in the nation. She thanks Columbus State for giving her, a felon, the opportunity she has always wanted.
“He’s (Cameron Mitchell) motivation for me. He’s a motivation and it just lets me know that he cares,” she said.
Mitchell said it is the least he can do for a community and a city that supports him.
“If my story and my legacy can play a small part in or influence their future, the legacies they’re building, then I’m happy to do it and I’m looking forward to it,” Mitchell said.
The $34.5 million project is funded by $10 million from the state, $10 million in private philanthropy, and $14.5 million from the college, and is complemented by more than $7 million in streetscape improvements funded by the city of Columbus.