Exciting Developments on Horizon for Salina Tech Campus

Exciting Developments on Horizon for Salina Tech Campus

Anticipation is building as construction is set to commence on the first new facility at the Salina Area Technical College campus in two decades. The groundbreaking project, expected to begin soon, faced challenges in fundraising after bids for the building exceeded initial estimates.

Recently greenlit by the Kansas Board of Regents, the state-of-the-art 15,000 square-foot building will house Salina Tech's innovative Industrial Maintenance and Automation program. The college's Board of Trustees has approved the bid of $5.2M from Harbin Construction for the construction, with an anticipated completion date in December 2024.

Despite Harbin's bid being the most competitive, Salina Tech President Greg Nichols noted that it was approximately $1 million higher than expected. Nichols expressed surprise at the bids' unveiling but emphasized that, given the ongoing inflation, the Board decided to press ahead with the original plans rather than scaling back.

Community support has been robust, with recent contributions including a generous donation from the Pestinger Family. Additionally, the Salina Airport Authority has donated two lots totaling 3.27 acres to accommodate the new building and potential future campus expansions.

Tom Pestinger, a long-time supporter of Salina Tech, spoke highly of the institution, highlighting its importance for the Salina community. He expressed a desire for future students to have an exceptional college experience and emphasized the invaluable contributions of Salina Tech alumni to the workforce.

Tim Rogers, Executive Director of the Salina Airport Authority, echoed this sentiment, stating that Salina Tech's growth plays a pivotal role in cultivating a skilled workforce for businesses in Saline County.

Various organizations, including Vortex Companies, have supported the project through different means. Vortex Companies Videographer/Photographer Tanner Colvin created a series of videos about the building project and the Industrial Maintenance and Automation program.

These videos, featuring insights from President Nichols, Exline, Inc. President Will Exline, and Vortex Companies Welding Lead Luke Doll (a 2016 graduate of the Welding Technology program), are available on Salina Tech's YouTube channel and website.

Brenda Gutierrez, Executive Director of the Salina Tech Foundation, acknowledged the higher-than-expected building bids and shared that the fundraising goal for building construction and program equipment is now $6M. She mentioned that approximately 80 percent of this goal has already been raised or pledged.

Gutierrez encouraged ongoing conversations with potential donors, emphasizing that donations still qualify for matching by Damon Button and a 60 percent tax credit from the State of Kansas. She clarified that, with these incentives, each dollar donated effectively contributes three dollars to Salina Tech.

As the community rallies behind the project, Salina Tech looks forward to realizing its vision of a cutting-edge facility that will enhance educational opportunities for current and future students.

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