The university and the entertainment company teamed up to create the new degree program that's on track to accept its first students for the fall of 2020.
"Bowling Green is an excellent partner, and we are really excited by the opportunity to marry the experience we can give with the education they provide," Duff Milkie, general counsel for Cedar Fair, said. "That's going to be a powerful combination."
Students will spend their first two years at the Bowling Green campus or BGSU's Firelands campus in Huron taking general courses. For their junior and senior years, they will transfer to the new academic facility in downtown Sandusky for specialized courses such as management-information systems for resorts and attractions, legal environment of the hospitality industry, and operation planning and supply chain management.
"From there, they will also have opportunities across all Cedar Fair facilities to do hands-on internships" as part of their degree requirement, BGSU spokesman Sarah Bednarski said.
Cedar Fair has an existing internship program that will be expanded with the new BGSU degree partnership, Milkie said.
A ground-breaking ceremony is set for 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the former farmer's market property, 250 E. Market St. Milkie said construction of the five-story Resort & Attraction Management Facility, currently out for bid, is expected to cost $12 million to $14 million. The company is funding the project through the Erie County Port Authority.
BGSU will have a long-term, low-cost rent agreement for the 12,500-square-foot first floor with classrooms, offices, and related space. The upper four floors will be one and two-bedroom apartments available to the public, but students will be given priority.
Milkie said the city of Sandusky, which is working to revitalize its downtown, has also been a partner in the project and "wanted an institution of higher learning in the downtown area."
Bednarski said there has been interest in the program, which the university hopes to launch with about 200 students.
"We're excited about this new opportunity," she said.