Last month the Butler Welding Advisory Board and heads from the Butler administration met to discuss the current facility that houses the Butler welding program and the future of the program itself with Butler Community College.
The Board convened again on Monday after exploring facility options off campus and the possibility of building a new facility on campus.
The facilities that were explored off campus could eventually meet the needs of the welding program but would need large renovations prior to a program move and beginning of classes.
The consensus among the board was to continue to explore a new facility on the El Dorado campus to have a welding program only building.
The concern for the program has arisen over the past years as the welding program shares its current building with art, business and general studies classes, and due to the close proximity, the quality of air in the building has become a major subject.
“It would cost just as much to renovate, remodel and bring a current building off campus to code in order to house classes,” said Advisory Board member John Grange. “It makes sense for us to look into building a new structure on campus that can utilize the current infrastructure of the campus. For the time and the money that it would require, we could have a nice new facility right here on campus.”
A new building on the El Dorado campus would most likely break ground near the current facilities management building and tennis courts.
In order to meet the needs of the welding program students in the future, the board estimated a building with 10,000 square feet would need to be put in place. After the building had been equipped for welding, the current estimated total would amount to $800,000.
“We need this program,” said Advisory board member Randy Travnicek. “It gives people the opportunity to better themselves and learn a craft. We enrich other peoples lives by enabling them to succeed and allowing this program to keep going on not only during day classes but also at night as well.”
The welding program up until last year offered a night course as well and that has been suspended until the future of the program is decided. With a new facility, more classes equaling more students could go to Butler for welding.
“We need a facility to have a day and night program, and the best option seems to be on campus. Our next step is how we go about funding that facility and to make that possible,” said Dr. Karla Fisher.
The advisory board closed with the task of getting a hard number for a new facility on campus to bring before the Butler heads of administration and to keep exploring facility options for the program.
Page 2 of 2 - “We cannot do this all by ourselves. We need some help and part of that is going through all our options to see what is best for the welding program, Butler Community College and the El Dorado community,” said Dean Dr. Roberto Rodriguez.