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November 19, 2018
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SouthArk’s AMTC faces another delay

East Campus building set to open in mid-April

By Brittany Williams
This article was published February 2, 2018 at 5:00 a.m.

South Arkansas Community College finance/administration VP Carey Tucker announced that the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center faces another delay during a board meeting Tuesday.

The building, named after Systems Group founder Charles Hays, was originally set to open for classes last month, but by early November officials announced an anticipated late spring opening.

In a previous report, SouthArk President Dr. Barbara Jones said, “The facility will offer classrooms and laboratories, inside and out, for training chemical process operators, mechanical-electrical technicians, welders and other industry-related workers for our region. The increased need for multi-skilled technicians for the workforce in the region have helped to drive this project.”

Tucker said that “all parties” involved with the AMTC met Monday and the “original” completion date has been moved from Mar. 11 to Apr. 18 for several reasons.

“There’s a couple of items that extended the time. One’s the transformer that is coming. We’re expecting that toward the end of March, early April. Then we’ve got to get Entergy to install it,” Tucker said. “Believe or not, the longest thing is they found it’s going to take longer to build the partition that separates that one big classroom (into) two classrooms. That’s not due until April 16. It only takes a few hours to install once it gets here. It just has to get here.”

According to Tucker’s board report, the building’s block work is complete, 90 percent of the steel frame is up and water lines for the Hands-on Training Unit are in place. Plumbers will also install the bathroom fixtures.

The college had to rebid part of AMTC project due to a “technical problem with the original bids,” board vice chair Veronica Creer said. Because of this, the board’s approved the budget and finance committee’s recommendation to accept a $132,000 bid from C&K Mitchell Service Contractors, which is based in Hot Springs.

SouthArk and Valley Services, the college’s food services and the conference center’s in-house catering provider, agreed on terms to extend its contract. The contract lasts for two years with “an annual renewal for up to a total of seven years,” Creer said.

The contract included $50,000 allocated for renovations in the El Dorado Conference Center, Tucker said.

“We’re going to meet with them to see what those renovations are. I know we’re going to extend and make a smoothie-coffee bar kind of thing and a couple other things in the Bistro,” he said. “We’re going to meet with them … and make sure that everything’s okay with the city to proceed. You probably won’t see any renovations until after the spring semester.”

Other building projects include conference center lighting, the McWilliams House and Heritage Plaza. The lighting project is “substantially complete” and the irrigation and replanting duties at Heritage Plaza are done. Appliances at the McWilliams Caretaker Cottage were installed, according to Tucker’s board report.

The SouthArk Board of Trustees’ next meeting is scheduled at 3:45 p.m. Mar. 20 in the administration building boardroom.

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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