El Dorado News

Monday
December 11, 2017
El Dorado News Times

SouthArk president, architect describe vision of AMTC

Dunn: ‘The quality’s going to be there’

By Brittany Williams
This article was published November 30, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

The South Arkansas Community College Board of Trustees and college administrators toured the construction site of the Charles A. Hays Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) on Tuesday.

CADM architect Blake Dunn said it took years to get enough funding for the construction project in progress behind the Center for Workforce Development on East Campus.

Donations came from area companies like Georgia-Pacific, Tetra and Lanxess. Grants awarded by the Economic Development Administration and Delta Regional Authority; guaranteed investment funds from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Southwest and Southeast planning districts; and “millage money from the citizens of our county helped put it all together,” said SouthArk President Dr. Barbara Jones.

“The building was designed so in the future it could be added around with additional classrooms and instructional space. We try to think about that when we’re doing initial designs — to make it as expandable as possible. At some point, this may be the interior of another building,” Dunn said.

The AMTC was going to be an open workspace before the Hays family and The Systems Group announced a $250,000 pledge to the project, Jones said.

According to her board report, “donations continue to be accepted with naming opportunities.” SouthArk received the second payment of $50,000 from the pledge. A $25,000 donation from Canfor Southern Pine, formerly Anthony, was the most recent for the project. Donations continue to be accepted with naming opportunities.

While initial construction was slow since the groundbreaking in March, CADM architect Blake Dunn said Union County workers “did the majority of the site work to benefit the school.”

“The earthwork went fast. The foundation went fast going in. Then we had a delay waiting on the steel from the building manufacturer,” he said. “Thankfully, the masonry contractor went ahead and started their work in advance of the metal frame being here, which is a little bit risky because it can be knocked over pretty easily.”

As of Nov. 8, 65 percent of the masonry work was complete and site utilities were at 60 percent. Metal framing arrived the week before Thanksgiving, according to a board report by Finance/Administration Vice President Carey Tucker.

The building is being constructed by Dayco Construction, a company based in Damascus that’s also on-site at the Parkers Chapel School District’s ongoing project, Dunn said.

“When it’s finished, ya’ll are going to be really happy with the building and the good value for what you’re paying for. The quality’s going to be there. We’re making sure of that as we move forward. It’s going to be changing pretty quick,” the architect said.

Looking upward from the Main Street side of the building, Jones said three classrooms will be on the left and labs will be on the right side.

“It’s going to have a divider eventually so that could be one big room or it could be two separate rooms. To the right, we’re going to have two bays. The one big bay is going to be for both process tech and industrial tech training. It’ll be a big lab and then the next lab will be the welding.”

SouthArk officials announced at the March groundbreaking ceremony that the AMTC would open in January. Because of delays, the college anticipates a late-spring opening for classes in process technology, advanced welding and industrial technology, according to previous News-Times reports.

The SouthArk Board of Trustees’ next meeting is scheduled at 3:45 p.m. Jan. 16 in the administrative office boardroom, located on the west campus.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or bwilliams@eldoradonews.com. Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

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