BGSU launches first-of-its-kind Cedar Fair Resort and Attraction Management program
There’s a new destination along the shores of Lake Erie, and it is aimed at jump-starting the ride of a lifetime for students in the recently launched Cedar Fair Resort and Attraction Management (RAAM) program at Bowling Green State University.
On Friday, Oct. 30, BGSU held the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the program and Falcon Point Lofts, a newly constructed 78,000-square-foot facility in downtown Sandusky that houses classrooms, common spaces and apartment-style housing for the community and students in the RAAM program, the only bachelor’s degree completion program of its kind in the nation.
Students will complete the first two years of the RAAM program at BGSU, BGSU Firelands or come from any two- or four-year college, and finish the final two years of the program in Sandusky.
The five-story, multipurpose facility will be home to the academic space for the RAAM program and was developed by Marous Development Group. It also features 36 studio and 44 two-bedroom furnished apartments with amenities including a fitness center, a mail/package area, a community room, laundry, outdoor parking and more.
It is located just miles from Cedar Point, which serves as a learning laboratory for students in the RAAM program.
“This state-of-the-art learning and living facility is the brick-and-mortar culmination of an innovative partnership between BGSU, Cedar Fair and the city of Sandusky,” said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers. “This kind of collaboration is exactly what we envisioned when we committed to forging a new path in education that reaches across the aisle to bridge the public and private sector to create new opportunities for our students, the region and the industry.”
While other universities offer programs in tourism management, BGSU's RAAM program is the first hybrid-model program to specifically address the unique needs of amusement parks, resorts and similar destinations by partnering with Cedar Fair, the parent company of Cedar Point.
The program’s curriculum includes a suite of courses that will provide a broad foundation to prepare students for careers in the multi-billion-dollar resort and attraction management industry, including classes in guest services, risk and safety, accounting and finance, and event and entertainment management.
In addition to classroom-based learning taught and led by BGSU faculty and industry experts, students will complete two customizable full-time, guaranteed paid co-op experiences at select Cedar Fair parks in North America.
“Co-ops play a critical role in developing a quality, professional workforce," said Richard Zimmerman, CEO of Cedar Fair. "Our partnership with BGSU has been intentional in providing an immersive experience in the development of a resort and attraction management school. The downtown Sandusky location will also contribute to the continued growth of the tourism economy in the region.”
“The value of being so close to Cedar Point, widely regarded as an industry leader, is incredibly significant,” said Swathi Ravichandran, professor and founding director of the program. “The Cedar Fair Resort and Attraction Management program provides an exceptional value for our students to immediately begin building a resume and professional network while they are earning their degree, gaining unprecedented in-the-field professional development that can jump-start a career.”
The facility is located at 250 E. Market St., next to the Schmidt Building and is expected to serve as a catalyst for additional development in downtown Sandusky.
“As we become a vibrant, 24/7 downtown community, Falcon Point Lofts will be a hub of activity in the heart of Sandusky," said Sandusky City Manager Eric Wobser. "This multipurpose facility will be a major economic driver in our community and will encourage others to make downtown a place to live and work.”
The groundbreaking for the RAAM program’s academic space was held in April 2019, with the building officially opening to students in September 2020.
“As a public university, we have a responsibility to serve our students and communities,” said Rogers. “Our partnership with the Ohio-based Cedar Fair will pave the way for the next generation of leaders in this in-demand industry, driving the economic vitality of our region, state and beyond.”
The livestreamed ribbon-cutting ceremony featured leaders from BGSU, including students in the RAAM program, Cedar Fair, the city of Sandusky and Marous Development Group.