Omaha college to invest $32M on expansion to train mechanics
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An Omaha community college is running out of space to train vehicle mechanics, so it’s planning to invest $32.5 million into a new building on its south Omaha campus.
Metro Community College hopes to use the 100,000-square-foot, two-story expansion for its auto technology and auto collision programs, The Omaha World-Herald reported .
The auto programs have 290 students this year, which is pushing capacity, said Al Cox, the coordinator for Metro’s auto technology department. Students in the programs learn in the classroom, receive hands-on training and many also work for local dealerships as they study.
The new building would have more classrooms, faculty offices and bays for students to work in. The facility would also feature a dealer-style automotive showroom.
The proposed expansion comes ahead of an anticipated need for mechanics. The industry expects to have more than 25,000 technician openings nationwide over the next three years, according to a representative for Baxter Automotive Group, which hires 10 to 20 students from Metro each year.
“It is literally an industry that is in need,” said Tim Nordquist, a service director for Baxter Automotive in Omaha. “We don’t have enough technicians.”
The two-year college’s plan must still be approved by the State Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.
The proposal is the latest building project the college had undertaken in the last two years. Metro spent $90 on three new buildings on its Fort Omaha campus and also renovated the Industrial Training Center on the south Omaha campus for about $10.5 million.
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com