There are no important names adorning the buildings at Amarillo College’s Career and Technical Center, but each structure serves a unique purpose: hands-on learning. No different are buildings at the center’s Truck Driving Academy.
AC’s main Washington Street Campus buildings certainly offer historical significance, even with the current dusty hallways and ever-present construction crews. The history of each structure derives from tidbits about the school’s founders or from people who helped the school grow.
Buildings at the former East Campus, located 13 miles east of Amarillo on Interstate 40, were inherited from Texas State Technical Institute, said Joe Wyatt, AC communications coordinator. He said that in 1991, the Texas Legislature combined the two higher-learning institutions.
“All the campus has is what it’s used for: technical stuff,” Wyatt said.
“There’s no excitement; no romance. Instead, the exterior and property is designed to fit the campus’ uses, and that gives the buildings something unique.”
Because it’s a technical campus, the programs need to be as hands-on as possible, Wyatt said.
One program achieves that goal well through its building’s structure: the AC Truck Driving Academy.
“We’re not quite as big as an airplane hangar,” said Bob Mathews, the academy’s operations director. “But we’re getting close.”
Mathews described the main classroom at the Logistics Training Center as an extra-large-sized classroom.
It’s capable of housing a combined tractor-trailer. The drive-through bay allows teachers to instruct on actual equipment, and students can learn physically about all necessary components that make the vehicles run.
“Our layout is probably 20 feet high by 70 feet long,” Mathews said. “About half our building is a lab, and it’s so big; it’s just one wide open space.
Instructors and students go through inspections, because students need to be able to inspect a 53-foot trailer with an attached tractor when its on the road.
Mathews said the LTC probably has one of the biggest pieces of equipment to look at in a classroom lab.
“ You’ve got computers, and we’ve got these big trailer tractors,” Mathews said. “ We’ve even got SMART boards in the classrooms.”
In addition to the drive-through classroom, the LTC supports three regular-sized classrooms for other instruction at the academy.