Construction will begin this month on what will be Bellingham Technical College’s largest building on campus.
The 47,500-square-foot welding repair technology center will cost $11.72 million to build and is scheduled to be completed in December 2006. The building will be constructed by Tiger Construction and be named the David and Joyce Morse Center.
The technology center will help meet the demand of students in several courses of study, including welding and auto collision. It will also allow students to train for other jobs not previously offered, such as aluminum welding for boat-builders, said BTC President Gerald Pumphrey.
“We’ve had to put students on waiting lists to get into our welding and auto collision programs, even though we have daytime and evening classes,” Pumphrey said. “It’s been a mess trying to meet the demand with the facilities we currently have.”
The new building will be about 50 percent bigger than the current facilities, and allow for more specialized programs to help meet the needs of local employers looking for employees with the proper training.
“There has been quite a bit of growth in manufacturing industries that require skills in fabrication and welding, so we’ve been hearing from employers about the need for workers with those skills,” Pumphrey said.
Pumphrey doesn’t expect there to be road-closure issues during the project, and the school hopes to work with the surrounding neighborhood to lessen the impact of construction.