PENDLETON – Educational, business and government leaders shared applause today with the formal dedication of Tri-County Technical College’s Industrial Technology Center expected to enhance regional economic development.
Tri- County Tech’s president, Ronnie Booth said the effort to put together and equip the 43,000-square-foot “was a team effort” of the school, county, state and private business officials. Included in that space is and 11,000-square-foot welding lab, a 4,000-square-foot fabrication area and a 6,000-square-foot HVAC Lab. Remaining is 8,000-square-feet of open space for expansion of programs.
Three Anderson County companies contributed to the cost of equipping the $4.4 million facility. Robert Kesler of McGee Heating and Air Conditioning was among those helping fund the project.
“I think this will help the whole community,” Kesler said.
McGee’s contributed $20,000 to the effort, and he sits on the school’s advisory board. “The school has been very good about asking what the business community needs,” he said. “This is what it needs,” he added pointing to the new center.
The training tools target the type of skills that will be needed to supply the proper workforce, he said. The facility also puts the tools together into a simulation of an industrial setting, said Booth. Staff and business leaders agreed that the simulation would be helpful to students.
Tri-County Tech’s Board of Trustees chairman, Ham Hudson, said the facility is “a catalyst for economic development in the three counties served by Tri-County Tech, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens. This is not just a step in the right direction, it is a leap.
Companies looking for new locations look for good workers most often, Hudson said.
“When a company comes looking for a place to prosper, one of the main things they look for is a quality workforce and a way to train their workers. That is important to existing, expanding and new industries,” Hudson said.
Other business contributors include Lollis Metals and Lakeside Sheet and Structure.
Tri-County Tech was able to obtain the building for $975,000, just under $23 per square-foot of basic space.
The school renovated the space, providing it with the proper safety equipment and meeting safety standards. Moving the training facility from the main Pendleton Campus to the new location has freed up space for other programs on the main campus, Booth said.