HCCSC and the Huntington County Community Learning Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 21 to dedicate the Learning Center’s expansion project.
Preliminary discussions for the expansion began in the fall of 2019, with plans beginning to be initiated in the spring of 2020. Ground was broken for the project on March 4, and the projected occupancy date for the expansion is currently set for the end of September.
The expansion adds 20,478 square feet to the Learning Center for a total of 49,784 square feet in all. Included in the expansion is a welding bay and classroom, advanced manufacturing lab and classroom, industrial maintenance classroom and lab, criminal justice classroom and simulation room and remote learning lab. An additional 1,000 square feet of precision machining space, added storage space, safety stations and one general education classroom are also included in the expansion.
Of note within the expansion is the new 2,907 square-foot welding bay, a substantial upgrade over the current welding bay measuring approximately 900 square feet. The new welding bay will accommodate 22 individuals at a time, a large increase over the 12 stations featured in the existing bay. Additionally, the industrial maintenance lab and classroom will create space for future building trades and pre-apprenticeship programs.
The Learning Center received a grant of $202,512 on Jan. 1 from the Don Wood Foundation for use on the new advanced manufacturing lab. The grant money was utilized for the purchase of one computer numerical control (CNC) mill, one CNC lathe and six manual lathes.
Barton-Coe-Vilamaa of Fort Wayne, Ind., was selected as the architect for the expansion, while Hagerman, Inc., also of Fort Wayne, served as the construction manager. The approved final bid for the construction featured a total cost of $4,156,620.
The Learning Center opened in 2016, with the dedication ceremony taking place on Sept. 15, 2016. The Learning Center’s original square footage totaled 29,603 with a construction cost of $1.45 million.
The Learning Center is a hub for career readiness, job search, workplace certifications and college learning opportunities. The Learning Center’s chief aim is to improve the skills of high school students and adult learners in Huntington County to meet the workforce needs of local industries.
In addition to HCCSC, the Learning Center’s tenants include Ivy Tech Community College Northeast, WorkOne Northeast and Huntington University. Impact Institute and the Huntington County 4H Robotics Team are also located at the Learning Center. The Learning Center is also open to many community partners that regularly use the Community Conference Room for meetings and trainings.
The Learning Center offers many programs to its tenants. Huntington North High School students are able to take automotive, certified nurse aide, criminal justice, emergency medical technician, precision machining and welding courses. With the exception of criminal justice, each course is offered for dual credit. Huntington North students also have access to internship opportunities. Impact Institute offers adult basic education, formerly known as the GED program. Ivy Tech currently offers welding and industrial maintenance courses and has offered CNC machining and various academic courses in the past.
More information about the Learning Center is available by calling (260) 356-2858 or by visiting www.LC.hccsc.k12.in.us.
Featured picture: Ceremony speakers join Learning Center teachers, members of the HCCSC Board of Trustees, Huntington North High School Principal Rief Gilg, and Laura Macknick, executive director of the Don Wood Foundation.