It’s official: After months of discussions, Gadsden State Community College is officially in the early stages of building its Advanced Manufacturing Center.
This announcement was made Thursday during a press conference at the college.
Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood was selected as the architect for the project; a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at a later date.
The project was originally proposed in 2021 after the college began applying for funding to make it happen. The facility was originally slated to cost $10 million for a 42,000 square foot building that could accommodate advanced manufacturing programs.
Now, however, the center will span over 50,000 square feet, in a facility to be built next to the East Broad Street campus and is expected to offer a variety of workshops for programs such as welding, machinery precision and robotics.
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These workshops, according to Dr. Alan Smith, Dean of Workforce Development at GSCC, will enable the college to offer a variety of educational programs for dual enrollment, short and long term professional certificates, diplomas associate and a wide variety of other training. .
“This facility will have the ability to increase training capacity by upgrading our facilities and creating a hub for all educational pathways that pass through our doors,” Smith said. “It will be a game-changer for labor and economic development for years to come.”
According to GSCC Chairman Dr Kathy Murphy, the project has a 24-month construction schedule, with completion estimated for 2024 “at the latest”. This is mainly due to the fact that the initial plans for the installation had to be adjusted due to increased costs related to location changes and inflation.
“The Alabama Department of Transportation recently announced the eastern connector from Interstate 759 to Highway (US) 431. While this is something our community needs and has been waiting for, it is also expected that ‘it goes right through the original site that we had selected for the establishment,” Murphy said. “It increased our costs to the tune of millions of dollars to help with the water and sewer lines , road traffic and additional site preparations.”
She added that this project “directly aligns” with the Alabama community college system’s ASPIRE 2030 vision, noting that the plan serves as a “conceptual framework” for the facility.
“ASPIRE stands for “Reaching Whole-System Potential Through Increased Resources and Commitment” and is the result of a statewide bond issue passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2020 to provide funding for facility upgrades and new construction for all levels of education in Alabama,” the college explained in a press release.
“I have an interest in finding ways to help our system move forward. If we do our job, the community college system is the best way to bring about meaningful change in the state of the Alabama,” ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker said.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also commemorated the facility as a positive contribution to her “Strong Start, Strong Finish” plan, which she hopes will increase the number of skilled workers in Alabama.
“I commend the GSCC on this announcement as it will help modernize and positively impact the college and community to best strengthen Alabama’s workforce,” said the Alabama representative. State Ginny Shaver, R-Leesburg, a GSCC alumnus, on behalf of Ivey: “The best is yet to come.”
Other Alabama politicians sent in congratulatory videos that were played at the announcement meeting, commemorating the achievement and discussing the impact it will have in the region and across the state.
“Business is booming in the state resulting in an increased demand for labor that will be met by accessible opportunities like these. This will allow students to get the education they need. needed to better meet industry needs,” said U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama. .
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“It will be a state-of-the-art facility that will help better educate students for years to come,” added U.S. Representative Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville.
Locally, the facility will not only benefit the local workforce, officials say, but also other areas such as K-12 education and the community as a whole.
“Today was a great day for Gadsden and Etowah County. The announcement of the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Gadsden State Community College helps put the Gadsden metro area at the forefront of industrial recruitment,” said said David Hooks, executive director of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority, in a statement to The Times.“I would like to commend Dr. Kathy Murphy for her tireless efforts in bringing this exciting project to fruition.
“The quality of a community’s workforce is one of the first things site selectors look for when locating a project,” Hooks said. “This new facility will provide Dean Alan Smith with the equipment needed to prepare our workforce not just for today, but for the future.”
“We currently have the future workforce in our halls right now and we want to develop them and bring them here to improve our region and our county,” said Dr. Alan Cosby, Superintendent of Etowah County Schools. , “This is a great day for every single one of our students and faculty.”
“Every day is a gift and a blessing, but today is also a defining moment for us,” Murphy added. “This will impact the community, our service area and the great state of Alabama. This installation will change the lives of members of our communities for good and forever.
For more information on the Advanced Manufacturing Center, visit the newly created website at https://www.gadsdenstate.edu/programs-of-study/amc.cms