(ABILENE) – Texas State Technical College’s new Industrial Technology Center received a grand opening Thursday night at a ribbon cutting and community open house.
The 56,000-square-foot structure on Quantum Loop next to Abilene Regional Airport is home to TSTC’s Electrical Power and Controls, Emergency Medical Services, Industrial Maintenance and Welding Technology programs. The building built for innovative technical hands-on learning opened for the fall semester in late August.
“It’s not just about the facility, but it’s about the programs and the people,” said Texas House District 71 Rep. Stan Lambert, R-Abilene.
Lambert said TSTC students walking through the Industrial Technology Center’s doors will be introduced to skill sets to ready themselves for the workforce.
“We have to be nimble and flexible and ready for the challenges to come,” Lambert said.
Even high school students in area school districts will benefit from what the Industrial Technology Center offers. Eighteen Abilene High School students are taking dual credit classes in Electrical Power and Controls this semester. And in Spring 2020, students in the Abilene Independent School District’s fire academy initiative will work on certification in Emergency Medical Services at TSTC.
“We are very excited about the new opportunities for our students,” said Abigayle Barton, the Abilene Independent School District’s associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “Our students will become better college and career ready.”
John Beckham, president of the board of directors for The Development Corporation of Abilene, said TSTC’s new building was in a great location for growth in the city. One of the projects he cited was the development of the 21-acre Access Business Park at the intersection of Farm Road 18 and Texas Highway 36 near the airport.
Beckham said Abilene owed it to the youth to provide them opportunities for better pay and a good quality of life. He said he looked forward to TSTC’s contributions to the city.
“Abilene has a need for a highly skilled and a technically-competent workforce,” he said.
Some attendees were seeing the building for the first time.
Jennifer Kent, director of member engagement for the Abilene Chamber of Commerce, said she was excited for TSTC’s growth.
“I love what it stands for and what it can offer to the economy in Abilene with highly qualified workers coming through,” Kent said.
Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams thanked the city’s residents for their commitment in raising $6 million to help get the Industrial Technology Center built.
And, Williams was not shy about his vision for the future. He said he looks forward to seeing more TSTC buildings, and possibly an AISD career and technical education structure, in the next few years.
“Abilene always comes through,” Williams said.
TSTC’s newest building among its 10 campuses was designed by Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, which has offices in Abilene and throughout Texas. Imperial Construction Inc. of Weatherford used local contractors where possible to construct the building.
“TSTC is making an investment in this community,” said Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood and Sweetwater campuses. “But just as we needed community support to get this Industrial Technology Center up and running, we will need your continued support to make this master plan, this vision a reality.”
The ITC is the first of eight buildings planned in the next several years for the 51-acre campus that is estimated to serve 3,000 students.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to www.tstc.edu.