Upon entering Mitchell Hall, one finds themselves in a large space called the Culinary Hub, saturated with natural light that filters in through the building’s many sky-lights. The morning of the hall’s dedication ceremony was sunny, making the space almost radiant. The light spread over the many rooms on the first through third floors of the building that are all connected to the Culinary Hub.
Immediately to the left of Mitchell Hall’s entrance is the 20-seat student run bakery and café, Blend, that will open on September 25th, and to the right is Degrees, a 50-seat student run restaurant that is set to open on October 23rd. Both are impeccably adorned in the same modern style as the building itself.
Walking through the Culinary Hub, one immediately notices the Baking Lab and Innovation Kitchen, each impressive with its own custom commercial set-up and design. These are only two of the seven teaching kitchens and on-display production kitchens in the facility, which also boasts a beverage and mixology lab, a climate-controlled lab, an outdoor learning lab and amphitheater, a 100-seat culinary theatre, and a 400+ seat event center.
The dedication ceremony filled the event center to standing room only, with everyone excited to hear the speakers and cut the ribbon. President of Columbus State Community College, David Harrison spoke first, praising the many partnerships that made the project possible. Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted spoke on behalf of the state, which contributed $10 million towards the project. Then Mayor Andrew J Ginther and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin spoke for the City, which invested $7 million to improve the surrounding area’s pedestrian access to the building on Cleveland Avenue in the Discovery District of Downtown Columbus. $10 million in funding was also provided by private philanthropic gifts, $2.5 million of which came from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants. David Miller, President and COO, and Cameron Mitchell, Founder and CEO, both spoke about their investment in the culture of Columbus and Columbus State Community College, and how this building is just the beginning of a great partnership with the City and College.
The dedication culminated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. A long ribbon strung on two stanchions in front of the stage where all the speakers and many of the main partners in the project stood, each with a pair of scissors in their hands. Staff, students, and other partners filed in behind them. All at once, each person cut a small part of the ribbon while those in the background cheered and sent blue streamers flying towards the crowd.
Afterwards, the self-guided tours of the building began, with a Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts representative in each room to tell visitors the role it plays in the building and program at large. The many highlights of the facility were fully on display, pristine and ready for students. Especially impressive, and equally as tough to miss, is the Culinary Theatre. Spanning two floors and seating 100 people, it has great lines of site to the demonstration kitchen and wonderful displays to help students see close-ups of the techniques being used.
As one wanders and takes in the facility, it’s immediately evident that it was designed and built with strong attention to details, both aesthetic and functional. Stark, clean lines predominate the space and create continuity, naturally leading you from one amazing room to the next. And even though this is the end of construction, we look forward to watching the Columbus State Community College grow and blossom into the full potential of the facility.