SPECIAL TO THE GILBERT TIMES
Plans are underway for a new Applied Technology Center to be constructed at the Williamson Campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. A ground-breaking ceremony is being planned for April, according to President Joanne Jaeger Tomblin.
ZMM Architects sought input from administration, faculty and staff to create a facility with a flexible design, allowing for training to be kept current and programs interchanged as necessary.
"This is going to be a technologically designed facility which will provide students with hands-on training to prepare them for the jobs of the future," President Tomblin said. "This project is one that the Tug Valley community can be proud of and its design will change the way students will learn in the future."
A college advisory group has made recommendations for training programs that are being planned for the new technology facility as well as the actual construction site which is located adjacent to the main campus building.
"The College still intends to purchase the Armory property when it becomes available, however, due to the timing of the bond funds, the College will need to begin construction and complete the new facility within three years of receiving the funds. That is why we are building a new facility on property that the college already owns," President Tomblin explained.
During the 2007 West Virginia Legislative session, the legislature agreed to the sale of bonds for the purpose of constructing new campuses and technology facilities for the state's community and technical colleges. Southern will receive $6 million dollars for the construction of a 21,000 square foot technical facility at its Williamson Campus.
Some of the training programs being considered for the new Technology Center include industrial vehicle maintenance, welding and electricity, vehicle operation training and robotic automation technology. College officials are also planning to create a professional testing center where students may complete all state licensure examinations, such as M-CAT, etc.
"We are planning to serve a much larger region here, including our neighboring counties in Kentucky," President Tomblin said.
The West Virginia Community and Technical College System, which Southern is a part of, has focused their efforts on the recruitment of adult learners and retraining the current workforce.
"The new technology center in Williamson will assist the College in attaining these goals. Community and technical colleges have the technology and the curriculum to train workers quickly at an affordable cost," President Tomblin said.