Around Campus: Regents approve Career and Technical Center

Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011

The University of Alaska Board of Regents formally project approved to KPC's Kenai River Campus Career and Technical Center on Feb. 18. The $14.5 million project was part of Proposition B that was approved by voters in the statewide election last November.

The Career and Technical Center will house the process technology, industrial process instrumentation and electronics programs, and occupational safety and health courses. Planning for the 15,000 square foot building has begun with faculty members, Allen Houtz, Henry Haney, Jeff Laube and Rich Kochis providing input to Facilities Director Phillip Miller and KPC Director Gary J. Turner.

Plans will include space for laboratories, multi-function high bay shop, classrooms, offices and student commons. The project will free up 5,000 square feet of space in the existing campus buildings for other growing programs on campus including nursing, paramedicine and art.

Turner expects to go before the BOR again in September to receive approval of the schematic design for the new building. It is anticipated that the project will go out to bid in March 2012 with a construction contract awarded in April 2012. Construction should begin in May 2012 with anticipated completion in Aug. 2013.

The student government at KRC has provided strong leadership for fellow students over the past year. Using their voices in well-orchestrated activities and demonstrations they have taken clear messages to their constituency, university leadership, elected officials, the media and the public regarding the support they have for their college. KRCSU President Shauna Thornton, Vice-President James Pazar, Communications Officer Kathy Cox, Productions Officer Debra Miller and Commerce Officer Rachel Simons together with seven student representatives have taken their messages to Chambers of Commerce, student forums, social media sites, newspapers and street corners in the Kenai/Soldotna area.

In Sept. 2010, the group took a firm stand of support for HB 424 (known as Proposition B), the general obligation bond supporting a variety of educational projects across the state. Kenai Peninsula College's Kenai River Campus had two projects in the bond package; a Career and Technical Center and a 96-bed student housing complex. As a team, the Student Union put in place an aggressive ad campaign and took advantage of every opportunity to let students, faculty, staff and the public know they supported passage of the bond package. The group utilized bright green frog suits to draw attention to their messages of "hop on Prop B." The GO bond passed by a wide margin in the Nov. 2 statewide elections.

The most current issue the KRCSU is reflected in a formal resolution unanimously passed on Feb. 16, 2011 stating opposition of proposed funding cuts to the college by the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The funding has been in place since 1990 when it was approved by Kenai Peninsula voters. The KRCSU rallied students and the public to protest the proposed funding cuts on Feb. 15 in front of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Building. The KRCSU again used their signature frog suits to draw attention to their message.

This article was provided by Suzie Kendrick, advancement programs manager at Kenai Peninsula College.

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