Located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, the new Mitchell Hall was constructed thanks to funding from the state of Ohio, Columbus State College, and private philanthropy. Locally based restaurateur Cameron Mitchell along with the COO of his company, David Miller, led the efforts to fundraise $10 million from private donors.
The main atrium is the heart of Mitchell Hall and provides Columbus State students with places to congregate and study together. At 80,000 square feet, the building cost $35 million to design and construct.
Mitchell Hall includes four-state-of-the-art teaching kitchens, as well as a beverage lab, baking lab, and innovation kitchen. The school is also working to develop new courses and certificates that focus on mixology, hotel management, wedding catering/management, and brewery science.
One of the two on-site restaurants, Degrees is a full-service concept that is professionally managed and led by chef Fernando Mojica but fully staffed by students.
Working at Degrees restaurant on campus offers students real-world experience. College-owned and operated restaurants are less common outside of four-year universities like the CIA.
The second on-site restaurant, Blend Cafe & Bakery, serves up coffee, pastries, and classic café fare like soups and sandwiches. Like Degrees, Blend Cafe is open to the general public.
Mitchell says the investment of time and money in the new building was a way to give back to an industry and local community that has given him so much while also paying it forward for future generations of restaurant professionals.
Mitchell Hall debuted in August 2019, with Mitchell (center left) at hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside Columbus mayor Andrew Ginther (center right). The newly minted school had one semester of normal operations before COVID-19 necessitated a pivot to online classes and a postponement of labs until summer 2020.
As of fall 2021, enrollment was at 600 students for Columbus State’s School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts, but it has the capacity to grow to 1,500.