“What makes us different from other trade schools is we’ve got a heating and cooling company, a plumbing company and a roofing company that are going to let the students come apply what they learned that morning or the day before in the field that afternoon,” Morris said.
Morris said he and his partners are all in long-term recovery. Morris has been in recovery for 19 years.
“We all have a heart for people in recovery,” he said. “All of our companies are what we call ‘second chance companies’ where if somebody has struggled with addiction, and they’re on a good path, we are willing to take a chance and employ them and give them hope to the recovery process, which is a pretty crucial ingredient to success.”
Morris said of his company’s 100 employees, about half are recovering addicts. He said the group was already in negotiations over another potential school site, but then this building went up for auction.
“If it wasn’t for God moving in our lives, none of this would be possible. Everything has just fallen into place,” Morris said. “We’re really going to be able to do it on an incredibly large scale. We’re not really looking to make money off this. If the only thing that happens is we help people that are in the recovery process, or at risk youth, and we give them a career and hope for their journey... our mission is accomplished.”
Greene County Career Center Superintendent Dave Deskins said he is thrilled to see someone with the same mission buying the old career center building.
“I know that was a tough day for old staff and alumni. Selling the building is bittersweet. But it’s great to see that it can get used and the work we did there will carry on with Mr. Morris and his partners,” Deskins said.
Deskins said he and Morris have discussed how the two schools could partner in the future.
“Our career center for years has been putting people into the workforce. And it’s great that someone will be working to fill trades we currently are not offering to area high school students, like HVAC and plumbing, which are screaming for more people, and putting them out into the local economy,” Deskins said. “This is really good for Greene County and it will be good for the whole Miami Valley.”
Career center students started attending the new $70 million career center building on Innovation Drive in August 2020. Voters approved a 20-year, 1.03-mill tax to help pay for the new facility in Xenia. The building was designed by Levin Porter Architects, and Shook Construction was the general contractor.
By law the Greene County Career Center had to offer the old building to charter and STEM schools in the district. No one was interested in the building, so it was put up for auction. The Board of Education will review this offer at the March 10 meeting.