BBCC workforce education building takes shape

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MOSES LAKE — Walls are starting to go up on the new workforce education center at Big Bend Community College. The project is on schedule and might even be ahead of schedule, said Linda Schoonmaker, BBCC vice-president for finance and administration.

Construction began in June on the 70,000-square-foot building, which will house the college’s technical education programs with the exception of aviation maintenance. Workshops for the automotive, welding, fabrication, maintenance mechanics and industrial systems technology programs will be located on the building’s first floor, along with four classrooms. The aviation mechanics program will have a new building next to its current location at the Grant County International Airport.

“There are some great walls standing up outside,” said trustee Stephen McFadden.

“And some structural steel. It looks really great,” Schoonmaker said.

The project, she said, is going well so far. “We are still on schedule and they mentioned ‘the E-word’ at our construction meeting on Tuesday, but we didn’t say it out loud,” Schoonmaker said.

Trustee Tom Stredwick asked for clarification on the “E-word.”

“Early,” Schoonmaker whispered.

About $35 million of the construction cost is being provided through the state community college capital projects budget. The way the building was funded requires demolishing existing structures housing existing programs, including the welding shop, auto mechanics shop and the industrial mechanics technology building.

Big Bend president Terry Leas said the demolition of the auto mechanics building will impact the auto technology program at Moses Lake High School, which is also is housed in the facility. Trustees might be asked about it, Leas said, but Schoonmaker said the MLSD contract with BBCC will expire at the end of the current school year.

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