Keeping pace with industry
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College is putting the finishing touches on its $1 million expansion in Superior. The new space opens in January, but WITC has been planning the addition for several years. WITC initially sought bids three years ago...
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College is putting the finishing touches on its $1 million expansion in Superior.
The new space opens in January, but WITC has been planning the addition for several years.
WITC initially sought bids three years ago, but the bids came in over budget.
Officials went back to the drawing board and decided on remodeling the current school and limiting the addition to best serve community and student needs, said Gene Rosburg, dean of instructional operations, trade and technical.
Last year, the project bids came in within budget, and it was approved by state officials. Construction began in May and was done at the same time as the $500,000 remodeling project.
The remodeling was completed as students returned for classes this spring and included upgrades to the student services center, air filtration system and classrooms.
The addition includes two multi-functioning spaces that can be used for WITC class work or for commercial training.
WITC offers instruction to local businesses in its conference center in a classroom style, but employers sought in an industrial setting, Rosburg said.
"(We've had) lots of demands and requests for industrial training," he said. The training is being offered under WITC's new contract training program.
Some businesses don't have the room or desire to train employees on site. WITC will use its new site for hands-on instruction in areas like welding fabrication and industrial building, Rosburg said.It could also accommodate other forms of training such as automotive or forklift training, he said.
Community members and businesses were asking for expansions in WITC's offerings, said Celia Tarnowski, marketing and public relations representative.
With baby boomers retiring, businesses are having a hard time finding people skilled in industrial maintenance, welding and machine tools, she said. The expansion could also house the college's new Building Trades-Construction Worker program next fall if the program is approved. It would offer a one-year diploma in the field of commercial or industrial building.
Most building programs focus on residential structures, which use wood frames. Industrial buildings use steel frames, Rosburg said.
This would be the first building program offered at WITC.
WITC made a request to the state to launch the program. Research is required to show the rational and possible need for the new program. It's a two year process, Rosburg said.
WITC also submitted a letter to the state after meeting with local business people as a first step toward getting it approved.
Much research and planning is required when proposing a new course for approval. WITC has submitted to the state curriculum, cost and facility use estimates to the state, he said.
The college built the addition with the Building Trades-Construction program in mind and should hear this spring if the program will be approved.
WITC's corrections lab also has been moved into and expanded in the new addition.
"We're excited (about) getting people in there and putting it to good use," Rosburg said.