Despite budget cut, bond approves 3 million for AC East campus renovations
By Tashana Hughes
Construction is expected to start early next year on the East Campus, which soon will be known as the Career and Technology Education Center.
Before Amarillo College underwent a series of budget cuts, a construction bond for up to $3 million was approved to fund the project. The money was specifically set aside for this use and cannot be used for any other purpose, said Dr. Shawn Fouts, dean of technical education.
“I think it will be kind of fun,” Fouts said. “We have to keep up with the industry.”
The renovation is scheduled to begin in early January and will not affect currently enrolled students. Ed Nolte, chairman of the industrial technology program, said the dust and mess from the construction might be somewhat of an inconvenience for students and employees on campus, however.
New students will have a chance to experience the Welcome Center, which will be an added facility in the construction process. Nolte said it will be a “nice centerpiece,” featuring glass walls, large screens and small electronics.
“I think this is a good idea and will work out great,” said LaTonya Westmoreland, a child development major. “It will show the new students exactly what they will experience firsthand.”
In addition to the facilities, the East Campus also will have new programs, including Homeland Security, power utility worker and mobile training programs. The mobile training program will allow students to have training inside a truck along with experimentation, with the possibility of taking the program to specific schools.
“We want to prepare our students for the real world,” Nolte said.
He said part of the remodeling process that could benefit students will be the addition of smart classrooms and labs.
The new facilities will have an instructor station with a computer and audiovisual equipment that can use a wide variety of media and technology.
There is no set date for completion of the project, but construction is expected to take about two to three years, Nolte said.
The department is working on plans with an architect. Plans will be presented to the board of regents for approval in November
Originally published: Friday, September 9, 2011