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Crisp Technology Center Preparing to Expand

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

Members of the Centralia Chamber of Commerce toured the Kaskaskia College Crisp Technology Center on Wednesday to get an inside look at the center, which houses the college's Welding, Carpentry, Industrial Electricity, Machinery, Industrial Technology, and HVAC programs. The center is scheduled to undergo an expansion in the coming months that will provide more space for the centers programs, doubling the space in some cases, according to center director Art Borum. 

"We're adding on to a couple of different sides of the building, and it will tremendously help us grow our programs, because we will be able to accommodate more students," Borum said, "The programs we have out here pretty much put people to work immediately."

Expansion at the center will also allow for more dual credit opportunities for area high school students, and even opens up the possibility of a student becoming certified in a trade profession as they graduate from high school, allowing them to immediately join the workforce. Centralia High School Superintendent Chuck Lane was on hand during the tour, and calls increasing vocational class offerings through the dual credit program is a major goal for the district. 

The expansion will allow for more HVAC offerings and will provide more space for the center's industrial technology program, currently confined to a small laboratory room in the center of the complex. 

Changes in the welding program have already begun to take place with new Welding program coordinator David Koleson taking over the program after the college released former professor Kevin Ray from teaching staff for undisclosed reasons. Koleson says that they've had some minor growing pains, but that the program is operating in a functional capacity. Koleson says the program will benefit greatly from the coming expansion, allowing the space to teach a variety of specialized welds that employers demand from potential employees.

Construction is set to begin in April.

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