Progress continues at new college site

By Kristen Tribe | Published Sunday, August 28, 2011
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Change on the Horizon

CHANGE ON THE HORIZON - A crane is visible at the Weatherford College Wise County construction site from U.S. 380. It was most recently used to set vertical steel beams on the first floor that will support the second floor. The skyline between Decatur and Bridgeport will change when the college campus is complete in June 2012. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Weatherford College Wise County construction site is bustling, and the home for higher education is taking shape.

“You can’t go out there and not get excited,” said Associate Dean Matt Joiner.

He and Dean Duane Durrett visit the site regularly and take other staff members as often as possible to keep everyone informed and excited about the future.

Construction of the campus, between Bridgeport and Decatur near the intersection of U.S. 380 and Farm Road 1655, is scheduled to be complete in June 2012.

Last week work was being completed on the geothermal wells, which is part of the heating and cooling system, and the interior of the Brown Building was almost completely gutted.

The Brown Building sits about 150 yards from the main building and is being renovated to house the cosmetology and emergency management training programs.

The second floor will house classrooms and offices, and students will also enjoy a break room complete with a full kitchen in this building.

Durrett said furniture from the current college location, on Cates Street in Decatur, will be used in this building, and Joiner added that changes will be made to the fa ade so it will be in similar style to the main building.

Passersby may have caught a glimpse of vertical steel beams. Those are set on what will be the first floor and are supports for the second floor. Construction crews were also preparing last week to pour the foundation for part of the first floor.

Joiner said one of the most often asked questions is about the number of full-time staff members that will be needed. He said although there is not an exact number, staff members will be added in cosmetology, EMT, law enforcement, nursing, food services, security and technical services.

“I’m excited about the space,” said Joiner. “(Our enrollment) is going to be up about 10 percent this semester, and we are wall-to-wall people. I look forward to our students having the opportunity to learn in a space that is dedicated to the discipline they’re studying.”

Durrett and Joiner hope the opening of the new campus will encourage even more growth.

“We want our population to mirror that of Wise County,” Joiner said.

The variety of educational programs and plans will draw students of all ages and with different aspirations, he said.

Although construction should be complete in June, Joiner said summer 2012 classes will be held at the Cates Street campus. He and Durrett hope to open administration offices at the new campus during the summer for advising and scheduling.

Monday county commissioners set the 2012 branch campus maintenance tax rate at 4.6250 cents per $100 valuation and approved the college’s $4.8 million budget.

Fall 2011 classes begin Monday, Aug. 29. Late registration continues through Tuesday, Aug. 30. For more information, call (940) 627-2690, or stop by the campus at 307 S. Cates in Decatur.

For weekly construction updates, visit the Weatherford College Wise County group page on Facebook.

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