WCC Corner – Lee Technology Center’s completion means more training for trades

In 2014, the Wilson Community College Foundation was generously gifted property from the Lee Family. Located on the corner of Highway 301 and Ward Boulevard, the property that was once home to the former Lee Ford and Lee Nissan dealerships, is more than ten acres of land and 43,000 square feet of building space.

Not long after, the College renamed the property the Lee Technology Center (LTC), made renovations to the two existing buildings, and has just completed a new building on the site.

All of this renovation and construction has enabled WCC to expand its programs in automotive and advanced manufacturing. Two of the existing buildings were renovated into what are now buildings R and W. Building R, the former Ford dealership, houses the Automotive Systems Technology program, the Small Business Center, and has general classrooms and meeting spaces. The old Nissan dealership was renovated into building W, which now houses the Applied Engineering Technology program.

Over this past year, what was the old motorcycle shop at Lee Motor, was raised and a new structure built in its place. The new building, Building S, was completed in August and will be home to the College’s Building Construction Technology, Air Conditioning, Heating, and Ventilation (HVAC), and Electrical Systems Technology programs. These trades programs are being moved from the main campus to LTC and have increased their space to provide even more training.

Trades workers are an essential part of our lives and society, and we need to train more of them to keep up with the decreasing number of trades workers. By promoting the trades as a viable and rewarding career path, we can help address the shortage of these specialized workers and ensure that we have a skilled workforce for the future. And now with the completion of the LTC site, the long-term vision of a dedicated location for the majority of industrial technology and trades programs has been realized.

Rob Holsten, Vice President for Academic Affairs, shared, “When the College received the gift of the LTC in 2014, I knew then it was an opportunity to focus our efforts on trades programs. I pledged to our Board that we would revamp our programs, focus our efforts on increasing the number of students entering and completing a trades program, and meet the workforce needs of our community for HVAC, electricians, and building construction technicians.” The completion of LTC is allowing us to do all of those things.”

All of the trades programs at LTC prepare students for good-paying jobs that exist right now in a fairly short amount of time. The Electrical Systems Technology program may be completed in one year, and students can earn two-year degrees in Applied Engineering Technology, HVAC (a 1-year diploma is also an option), Building Construction, and Automotive Systems Technology. The Building Construction program even includes plumbing coursework that can lead to immediate jobs. And if you don’t have time for a one or two-year program, you can take just a few classes and earn a certificate.

For more information about our trades programs or LTC, visit our website at www.wilsoncc.edu, or give us a call at (252) 291-1195. If you would like to check out the newest building, WCC is holding a ribbon cutting and open house for Building S on Wednesday, October 11, at 10:00 a.m.

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