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CM at-risk finalists chosen for college project

By Kristen Tribe | Published Sunday, June 20, 2010

Five finalists have been chosen for construction manager at-risk for the Weatherford College Wise County project.

County Judge Bill McElhaney said the college committee was to meet with the finalists last week and interview them this week.

McElhaney also told commissioners at Monday’s meeting that the architect is in the second design phase for the 75,000-square-foot building. Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns said the architect may have an elevation to present at the next committee meeting.

McElhaney also reported that the county is discussing the specifics of an agreement with West Wise Special Utility District for water and the city of Bridgeport for a sewer line.

The Weatherford College Board of Trustees recently approved a master academic plan for the Wise County branch, and the types of classes offered will impact the design of the building.

Duane Durrett, dean of Weatherford College Wise County, said he is most excited about the possibility of offering a dental hygiene or dental assisting program.

“It’s exciting to think that we could have a program that there are not very many of in the state,” he said.

Durrett stressed that it is not certain these programs will be available, and he is still researching various programs to find the best way to start one here.

He has visited the dental hygiene schools at Texas Woman’s University and Tarrant County Community College, and he is planning to visit the program at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi.

The dental hygiene or assisting program might replace the proposed physical and occupational therapy programs. Durrett said it depends on grant funding. There is a particular grant that, if awarded to the college in general, requires the therapy programs to be in one location, which would be in Mineral Wells.

Durrett said the Wise County campus will offer an associate degree in nursing, which is a two-year registered nurse program, and it will also offer a licensed vocational nurse program.

Other workforce education classes to be offered include cosmetology, emergency medical services, law enforcement and fire science.

The college will continue to offer all general education classes, and Durrett said he hopes to offer all science classes including, chemistry, biology, physics and geology.

Programs under consideration for future approval include gas and energy training and aviation technology that could include aviation maintenance, private pilot training and airport management.

Durrett said fine arts or physical education classes that are offered, if any, will be determined in the design and planning of the new building. He hopes to integrate multi-use classrooms that could be shared between a fine arts class and a traditional lecture course.

The college will also offer non-credit continuing education programs for defensive driving, phlebotomy, truck driving and computer training, among others.

One of the greatest benefits to students will be the University Center that is planned. Durrett said the University of North Texas will have an office on campus, and a UNT adviser will be available to guide students in choosing a degree plan at Weatherford that will easily transfer to UNT. When it is time to transfer, students will be able to register for UNT through this office as well.

Durrett hopes to make it a multi-institutional center, but UNT is the only university committed at this time.

He also said they are exploring food service options for the campus.

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