VAN ALSTYNE — Grayson College celebrated the opening of a new Technical Center at their south campus in Van Alstyne Monday with a ribbon cutting and tours of the facility.
The Center will provide classroom and laboratory space for four programs: welding technology, electrical technology, occupational safety and health and medical laboratory technology.
GC faculty and staff attended the event, as well as representatives from the Anna, Van Alstyne and Whitewright chambers of commerce.
Of the 5,000 students enrolled at GC, about half are in technical programs, said GC President Jeremy McMillen.
“Our community tells us what we need,” McMillen said. “Our community tells us we need welders. We have a new welding program over here. Our community tells us we need health care. We’re moving the medical lab technicians program down here. Our community tells us we need electricians. We’re doing that.”
The Technical Center was a $4 million project, McMillen said. Half of the funding came from a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. GC paid the other $2 million.
The new facility will be especially valuable to the welding technology program, which recently outgrew its current home at the main campus. The welding program has been growing in popularity in recent years, said Welding Instructor Alan McAdams. “Having this one out here not only will take care of some of the overflow out of that facility, but it will also (help us get) traffic out of this side of Grayson County. … And also people from Plano and McKinney, because there’s no other welding program in this area.”
McMillen, along with the three chambers of commerce, participated in a ribbon cutting. The drizzly weather brought the ribbon cutting indoors, but that did not dampen attendees’ spirits.
“My husband welds, but he had to teach himself because there were no courses offered in Dallas at the time,” said Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce President Wendelyn Tilleman, “so having a training facility for welding especially is dear to my heart. I love it.”
The first classes at the Technical Center will begin Jan. 21.