Thanks to a generous donation to Salina Area Technical College’s new Industrial Maintenance and Automation program, private contributions to the project have surpassed $1 million.
Salina Tech President Greg Nichols announced Thursday a $400,000 donation from the Sunderland Foundation, of Overland Park, towards the project.
In January, Salina Tech announced it had received a $1.8 million grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to help pay for a new building on campus to house the program, and that the college needed to match that grant with another $1.8 million to move forward.
“Since then, we’ve seen great support for the project,” Nichols said. Previous donations include $400,000 from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, more than $150,000 in donations of equipment for use in the program, $90,000 from Saline County and several smaller donations.
An architect has drafted plans for a 15,000 square foot building with classrooms, shop spaces and an 80-seat amphitheater.
“The Sunderland Foundation gift is a huge boost to our campaign,” Nichols said. “Because of our enrollment growth in recent years, the only way we could implement this new program is in a new building – we’re simply out of room.
The Industrial Maintenance and Automation program is intended to train employees on configuring and maintaining automated manufacturing equipment, which regional employers such as Tony’s Pizza and Kubota increasingly rely on.
Depending on construction time, the program is expected to launch in the fall of 2024.
The Sunderland Foundation has supported Salina Tech building projects in the past, including contributions to the college’s new student center and the Goode Learning Resources Center.