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MAC breaks ground for new training facility

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About 75 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony held Thursday morning for the construction of a new Workforce Innovation and Education Center on the Mineral Area College campus in Park Hills.

According to Dr. Joe Gilgour, MAC president, the 80,500-square-foot training facility is being built to “meet the demands of area employers and provide students with opportunities to receive specialized, technical skills training to secure well-paying jobs close to home.”

He added, “The Workforce Innovation and Education Center will allow MAC to expand and further develop accessible and affordable career and technical education offerings for post-high school students on the Park Hills campus.

“Designed with the input of local industry leaders, the building will include classrooms and flexible industrial lab spaces alongside offices for Workforce Development staff.

According to architectural specs for the center, the building will include 12 classrooms, more than 26,000 square feet of program-specific lab space and 7,000 square feet of flexible lab space allowing for response to future industry needs, as well as computer labs and faculty/staff offices.

It’s anticipated that training programs will be offered in the center focusing on areas of engineering technology; fiber optic technician/network administration; machine tool/CNC operation; carpentry and construction; commercial HVAC; and industrial maintenance technology.

Classes are expected to begin in the Workforce Innovation and Education Center in the fall of 2023. The project has initial construction funding of $5 million from the state of Missouri. It is anticipated that grant resources and a capital campaign held in cooperation with the MAC Foundation will provide funding for additional building-related and operating expenses.

Several other items involving physical improvements to the Park Hills campus were approved at a brief meeting of the board of trustees held following the groundbreaking ceremony that included a bid from Brockmiller Construction for concrete repairs to be made at numerous locations around campus, as well as bids for the purchase of furniture for the concourse and private dining area. The bid for the concrete repairs was approved with Trustee Mit Landrum abstaining.

In old business, updates of board policies on auditing and banking presented by MAC CFO Lori Crump were approved.

In new business, a renewal of the five-year cooperative agreement between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the school for operation of the shooting range presented by Provost Roger McMillian was unanimously approved by the trustees. According to McMillian, the only update in the initial agreement approved between DNR and MAC in 2016 is the addition of several new EPA guidelines.

The final item approved at the meeting was the replacement of all exterior doors on campus.

“Using HEERF (Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund) will allow us to have touchless entries and doorways throughout the campus,” Gilgour said. “They’ll be the same doors, but how they configure it, the doors will be where people don’t have to touch them.

"They can be locked remotely, so we wouldn’t have people go unlock doors every morning or lock them at night. We’ll be able to do it all at once. It’s going to help us a lot.”

Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or kjenkins@farmingtonpressonline.com

“Designed with the input of local industry leaders, the building will include classrooms and flexible industrial lab spaces alongside offices for Workforce Development staff." – Dr. Joe Gilgour, MAC president

Dr. Joe Gilgour on new building on campus
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