Carthage, Texas (KLTV) – The Panola College Board of Trustees approved construction of a new multimillion-dollar energy building at a Tuesday night meeting.
The new facility will host some of the college’s most popular programs, which are currently offered in a rather unassuming building with limited space.
“We really needed more space, and this new facility will triple our enrollment,” said Dr. Greg Powell, dean of Panola College.
The new building will have 32,000 square feet of interior space and 25,000 square feet of exterior courtyard. The building will house welding labs, engine and compression labs, shops and classrooms for commercial wiring, electrical and motor controls, instrumentation, hydraulics and mechanics, and HVAC.
Department of Energy Chairman Daniel Hall said it was a major upgrade to their current building.
“Teach five to nine subjects at a time,” Hall said. “And that’s what the new facility is really going to help alleviate.”
“They’re on top of each other at the moment, and the schedule is a nightmare,” Powell said.
Natalie Oswalt, dean of the College of Arts, Sciences and Technology, said the new building comes at a time when the fields of study offered at Panola College are constantly evolving.
“Our program has grown rapidly,” she said. “As the petroleum program started, we worked with industry to understand their needs, and that’s how that expanded to our other associate’s degree programs, and then some smaller certificates.”
The new space will allow for some new projects, Oswalt said.
“We’re going to add things like drone technology,” she said. “We want to be able to offer that to our students and businesses. We work with our corporate partners so that we can do the training. We just started offering OSHA training this year for these certifications, and we also do forklift operation and other for our corporate partners. similar training.”
Opportunities will also be provided for students to improve their skills for entering the workforce.
“For graduates of my two-year program, we have a very high success rate of job placement prior to graduation,” Hall said.
As Panola College builds for the future, opportunities in essential work fields are endless.
“I’m really excited about this energy building,” Powell said. “I think it’s life-changing,”
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