Five years ago, the Valley was the Sahara of community college education, says Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. She spoke at the dedication of the Micron Center for Professional Technical Education, the latest building to be dedicated at College of Western Idaho which has become, in those five years, the nations fastest-growing junior college, according to CWI President Bert Glandon.
Construction began in August 2011 in the 176,000-square-foot former Sams Club store at 5725 E. Franklin Road. Over the summer, 100 semitrailer-truck loads transferred equipment from the programs old home at Boise State University.
The centers programs include auto-body repair, automotive technology, diesel technology, drafting technology, electronics technology, machine-tool technology, power sports and small-engine repair technology, and welding and metals fabrication.
We can see more, says Gavin Admire, a second-year heavy-equipment student. More room, more equipment. Nicer cloakrooms. Its a big difference.
Its 10 times nicer, for sure, says Dylan Pedersen, a second-year welding student. He likes the improved lighting and ventilation and increased space. The new shop is amazing. You couldnt ask for more.
The building cost $16.9 million, with $12.9 million donated by the Albertson Foundation and $2.5 million from the Micron Foundation.
In addition to students enrolled in the programs, the center is expected to serve more than 20,000 other students taking customized and fast-track evening classes there in the next year. Treasure Valley businesses also will use the center to train employees and upgrade skills.
This facility is a major leap forward for the system of professional-technical education in the region and will provide opportunities to literally thousands of high school graduates, displaced workers, and incumbent workers seeking to upgrade their skills, says Todd Schwarz, administrator of the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education.