NJC’s applied technology campus expansion gets nod from Capital Development Committee – Sterling Journal-Advocate

Northeastern Junior College feels the love of the Colorado legislature. The Capital Development Committee, which is responsible for reviewing requests for funding for capital projects from all government agencies and making priority recommendations for the Joint Budget Committee, recommended expanding and rebuilding the NJC campus for applied technology as one of the top higher education projects on the list for 2022-23 fiscal year.

The NJC project ranks 13th on the committee’s list of recommended projects.

The recommendation is particularly interesting given that this was the first year the college requested funding for the project, and it usually takes several years for requests to be met. When the NJC decided to renovate the ES French building, it took ten years of issues before they finally got both from the CDC and JBC.

Senator Jerry Sonnenberg, who is a member of the committee, was assisting in the implementation of the project through the CDC. He is very confident that the project will go through the whole process and receive approval from JBC, noting that his committee believes that JBC will fund at least the first projects worth $ 300 million. NJC is seeking $ 12,575,000 for its project.

“It will be a huge asset for both the NJC and our community,” Sonnenberg said.

The project will expand and renovate existing buildings on the Applied Technology campus to expand the automotive, diesel and wind technology programs; transfer precision farming and welding programs; and allow you to add new programs such as skilled professions and solar technology. It will connect a new 37,500-square-foot gross metal building to the existing Lebzach-Schmidt building and renovate 45,470 square feet of existing building space and improve plumbing, ventilation, electrical and fire protection systems.

The CDC recommendation is a nice welcome gift for NJC President Mike White, who just started his new position 14 days ago and is excited about the project.

“I think it will lead to a new look for our Center for Applied Technology, which is a really exciting development for the NJC,” he told the NJC Advisory Board on Thursday.

NJC launched a major campaign to expand and renovate ATC in the fall of 2019, and by then staff and faculty had already promised or donated more than $ 26,000, but the project was slightly interrupted when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

In addition to the CDC’s recommendation, the advisory board learned about some other funding that the NJC is already guaranteed to receive from the state thanks to two laws that were passed last year.

The first, HB21-1149, known as Career Strengthening in Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy (SPARC), is strictly designed for renewable energy and electromechanical generation services. Thanks to this bill, NJC will receive about $ 1,065,000 over five years, with about $ 350,000 coming in the first year.

According to Linda Merkel, vice president of education, the college plans to use some of the money to purchase hybrid vehicles for students in the diesel program to study and practice. Funding will also be used to help NJC develop and improve pathways for different types of students – Department of Corrections, Labor, ESL and potentially military students, and to develop high-end certificates for wind and welding students.

“At a high level, we seem to combine several different programs and allow them all to expand their skills,” said Merkel.

Part of this project will also take place concurrently with another project involving NJC through the Colorado Community College system, Education Design Lab. While most colleges in the system are working on directions for careers in healthcare because the NJC is funded by SPARC, “we said we really need to focus that effort on what we do with it,” Merkel said. but hastened to notice. this does not mean that there will be no health opportunities in the future.

NJC will also receive funding from HB21-1264, which is a allocation of government funding to support workforce development activities. Heads of departments who were interested and whose program was much needed were asked to apply, the nursing program did so and received $ 26,291. Of that, $ 10,000 will go to training next-generation NCLEX faculty, which is an exam that all nurses must take.

“We want all our teachers to work with this quickly,” Merkel said.

The cost of this was slightly lower than expected, so NJC hopes to gain additional professional development for nursing staff at public expense.

Another part of the funds, 655 thousand dollars, will go to the welding program.

“We take part of the overall design of the ATC we want to do and focus on welding, and what we want to do is install a new transformer and perform electrical engineering and create a welding base,” Merkel said.

This will allow the relocation of the welding program to take place in front of the ATC expansion project rather than in the tail section. Right now the welding program is located in a small barn and can really take up more space.

Later in the meeting, President White spoke about a bill currently in the legislature, SB 22-003, that would allow public colleges to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing to students who have or are engaged in practical nursing. certificate in nursing. The bill passed in the Senate and is now in the House of Representatives, and although White wasn’t sure how long it would take to pass the bill, he said it looks very promising.

To begin this program, NJC is in talks with Morgan Community College and Lamar Community College because the MCC actually has an accredited program to begin this.

“This will allow our current students and previous graduates to take a virtual course, another year of study while they work and earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing,” White said. “I am very pleased that this bill will pass; we have moved forward quite quickly while evaluating our capabilities and requirements to see if it is worth offering at the local level. ”

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