NTC’s Phillips campus to see expansion

June 17, 2013

From pricecountydaily.com: “NTC’s Phillips campus to see expansion” — Northcentral Technical College’s (NTC) North Campus in Phillips is gearing up for an expansion project aimed at better meet the needs of community industries and accommodating the swelling number of learners advancing their skills and knowledge there.

“We’re seeing some extraordinary growth at the campus in Phillips,” NTC Dean Roberta Damrow said when introducing the project to city officials at the June 4 meeting of the Phillips Committee of the Whole.

In 2012, the campus served around 1,200 learners, some of them on paths of continuing education and others enrolled fulltime.

Damrow described last year’s enrollment total as “unprecedented” for Phillips.

Beyond student growth, additions aim at addressing the needs of local employees as determined through community meetings, according to Damrow.

Damrow said that NTC “heard loud and clear” that a machine shop was needed along with a means for building technical skills in machining. Reps of the college also picked up on the fact that local industries would like to see a manufacturing technician degree added. The area of study prepares learners to be, as Damrow puts it, “a jack of all trades,” and draws on skill-sets in electronics, welding, and machining as needed.

“So, we’re working on some curriculum development, but what that means is that we didn’t have enough room,” Damrow said.

She presented a printout of the campus to help illustrate to city officials where the two additions are going.

The first part of the expansion project will put 2,300 square feet worth of added flex lab space on the front of the existing lab wing.

A 4,500 square-foot classroom addition is planned for the south end of the building. Key features of the new space include meeting and ITV distance education areas as well as two large classrooms. Able to accommodate up to 100 people at a time, the classrooms will be available for community events outside of instruction hours.

“That’s something we wanted to be able to do to be a good community partner,” Damrow said.

The expansion will bring the total size of campus facilities from 17,500 to 23,5000 square-feet. That’s a great departure from the original campus building, a green number covering only about 5,000 square-feet. This relatively humble building served Phillips learners from the time NTC’s North Campus was founded in 1987 until 2010, when an extensive renovation project wrapped up thanks to the donation of land and a warehouse building by Phillips Plastics.

“So, we’re going to be able to accommodate a lot more learners,” Damrow said.

Last year, NTC’s North Campus in Phillips saw learners from a total of 19 counties and four states.

“People are coming from many different areas to live and work and be in this community, and they’re taking classes to kind of get retooled,” Damrow said.

The project will be funded using money in NTC’s capital budget.

“[Funding] goes to where the demand is, and we were able to show a demand,” Damrow said.

Bids for the project are slated to be opened sometime in July, with a late-July ground breaking tentatively scheduled. The goal is to have the additions ready in time for the start of second semester classes in January.

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