11:48 p.m., Feb. 6, 2013

2,000 square feet to be added to career tech

One of the first programs offered at Laramie County Community College dating back to the 1970s could be reinstated at the campus as early as next fall in addition to other changes within the area of technical fields.

After dropping the welding program just more than 10 years ago, LCCC officials are hard at work targeting this fall as the opening semester for the welding program. Doug Cook, dean of the Career and Technical Education Center said that during the last three to four years the demand has increased for students training in this technical field and even more demand for special area trainees overall.

Changing technology brings back former program

LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer said: “The technology has changed so much that now to enter into the field of welding it isn’t one of those things where I can recruit people off the street. They are now looking for people who come out of specific programs that teach it.”

After starting the process just more than a year ago by looking at other programs in the state and assembling groups of people with knowledge of the field for an advisory board, LCCC officials moved the basic idea of adding the program through several boards including the Academic Standards Committee and the deans’ Learning Leadership Team, also known as the LLT.

Cook explained the program is still a long way from being finished; however, after the LCCC Board of Trustees recently took the first step in accepting the program of study as a curriculum on Jan. 21, they accepted the proposal to expand the facilities. The board will further review the curriculum after the scheduled February study session.

Meanwhile, the program being currently modeled after the Northern Wyoming Community College district’s welding program seems to be on its way. NWCC is one of six community colleges in Wyoming with a welding program.

Architect designing addition

In addition to the process of setting a curriculum, LCCC has hired an architect to design of space after agreeing a 2,000-square-feet addition is needed to the Career and Technical Center Building. The addition will cost about $329,000.

At this point if and when the welding program gets under way, the first welding class will likely be limited to 12—15 students based on the space and instructors available in the startup of the program. It is predicted to grow quickly though as new space becomes available at the Flex Tech Building, also being proposed for construction.

The second change currently being explored is the installment of a process technology program focused on the jobs and industries associated primarily with oil refineries and other types of industries that use some type of technology to refine materials.

Dean Cook said the program is in its beginning stages of planning and has been strongly pushed by a state interest in improving the safety records at current refineries with addition to stabilizing and providing a highly skilled work force.

Flex-Tech building coming in 2016/2017

The board is considering a brand-new Flex Technology Building of about 54,000 square feet to create space for the industrial technology expansion and welding. Now, it is expected to be built by late 2016 or early 2017.

The final step to developing this program will be to hire professors specialized in certain areas and to hire part-time workers to help teach specialized fields. President Schaffer said the overall budget for the enlargement will likely come from the one mill levy, which consists of accumulated taxes collected from Laramie County and the Work Force Division. In addition, the project will be built into next year’s budget. If for some reason the idea of adding either program isn’t realized, Schaffer said the board of trustees and the campus staff have plenty of other items on the agenda that they will first have to sort through to figure out which direction to head.