CAMBRIDGE -- An expansion project that began in 2011 at Zane State College's Cambridge campus was completed earlier this month.

CAMBRIDGE -- An expansion project that began in 2011 at Zane State College's Cambridge campus was completed earlier this month.

A new building was opened Thursday, Jan. 9 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by donors, college officials, and representatives of State Treasurer Josh Mandel and Gov. John Kasich. Guernsey County residents can now earn an associate's degree at the Zane State Cambridge campus, thanks to the new building, which is being called the "EPIC Center." The acronym stands for Energy Productivity Innovation Collaboration.

The EPIC Center measures out at 40,000 square feet. The facility is located at 9900 Brick Church road near the Municipal Airport, and Dean Mike Whitson says a highway bridge that connects the EPIC Center to the Willett-Pratt Training Center has been completed.

"We're very excited about that because it makes it easier for all of us going between the buildings," Whitson said.

The center's two laboratories and eight classrooms come as a relief to the Willett-Pratt Center, which had been at full capacity. The EPIC center is remarkable for its energy efficiency; electrical needs are supplemented by a wind turbine and the building uses geothermal heating.

"We've got deep wells underneath the parking lot. The refrigerant goes into the ground and goes back up at 55 degrees. In winter time, we don't have to heat it very much to make it comfortable and in the summer time it makes ideal air conditioning," Whitson said. "Basically, Mother Earth is helping us quite a bit with the heating and cooling...and that keeps utility bills down. It's environmentally friendly which is important as well."

Whitson is hoping that enviromental friendliness will earn the building Leed Gold Status from the U.S. Green Building Council.

In addition to making use of alternative energy sources, the campus recycles and is tobacco-free.

Students at the Cambridge campus can earn a wide variety of associate's degrees, including Business Management, Microcomputer Applications, Medical Assisting, Oil and Gas Engineering Technology, Sport and Fitness Management, and Welding and Fabrication. Students can also take general education classes and transfer credits to other colleges.

Zane State College's main campus is located in Zanesville at 1555 Newark Rd. Established in 1969, it is a technical college that offers a variety of two-year associate degree programs, certificate programs, workshops, and occupational skills training.

Warner may be reached at