The district is using land near the Kendall County line purchased for a sixth college.
By Austin P. Taylor
A new regional education and training center on the Northwest Side of the county is in the design stage, and a new building will be constructed at the Westside Education anfd Training Center at 563 SW 40th St.
At the Jan. 17 board of trustees meeting, the board approved spending $23 million for the construction of a new regional education and training center on Frontage Road and Balcones Creek.
In an Oct. 29 interview, John Strybos, associate vice chancellor of facilities and construction management, said along with the construction of a northwest center, the district is also building a new center on the Southside and replacing the Westside center, each costing $23 million, according to the CIP budget presentation on Jan. 7, 2017. The district approved all three projects for a combined $69 million.
“These aren’t colleges. These centers provide college-level courses and transfer services, as they’re needed,” Strybos said.
Strybos said the courses and services available at the centers will change each semester to meet the needs of the center’s clientele.
Strybos said the district is in the design phase for the new northwest training center. No manager for the center has been chosen.
Strybos said the current classes planned for the northwest center are focused around this college’s transfer programs.
The land being used for the northwest center was purchased in 2005 for future college expansion.
The Westside Education and Training Center opened in September 2006. The center offers workforce training and education programs.
Since the center’s opening, it has served 21,000 students.
In an Oct. 30 interview, Gene Gonzalez, Westside Education and Training Center manager, said on average, the center serves around 1,200-1,500 a semester.
The new building is being built near the current campus.
Gonzalez said the new center is 50,000 square feet, double the size of the current center. After the new center is completed, the current building will be demolished.
Gonzalez said the expanded center will allow the faculty and staff to better serve those enrolled in current classes and offer core courses in the future.
“Most students average around the age of 35,” Gonzalez said. “These are students who typically have the responsibilities of older adults and they’re also at a point in their lives where they are trying to improve.”
A nine-member advisory committee selects courses based on demand from the community.
Construction is expected to begin in June and will take at least two years to complete.
Student services such as financial aid are available at each of the centers.
Each center has a dedicated team of staff members, but all faculty assigned to the centers are provided by the colleges.
The Southside Education and Training Center is in the design phase.
Strybos can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Westside center can be reached at 210-485-0240.