VC board approves two projects, including up to $400,000 for Caterpillar training facilities

Jan. 23, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 23, 2012 at 7:24 p.m.

Victoria College could begin training Caterpillar employees in early March.

On Monday, the Victoria College board squared away plans for two development projects, including one for training facilities for future Caterpillar workers.

The other is plans to remodel a former car dealership to expand programs at the college's Gonzales campus.

After returning from executive session, the board approved giving VC President Tom Butler the authority to purchase and renovate a space for training at least 380 workers in the future Caterpillar hydraulic excavator plant.

The college allocated no more than $400,000 to secure the new space, which would be equipped to offer such courses as assembly, logistics, machining and welding.

"Because this is a different kind of training than we've done before and requires more equipment . we needed a new space to do it in," Butler said.

The new facilities come with a skills development grant that gives Caterpillar funds to purchase training and equipment, which VC could use for future training programs, Butler said.

Citing negotiation processes, Butler declined to specify where VC is considering for the training facility, but said the college is looking at more than one piece of property.

Training is expected to begin March 5.

The board also voted to cancel a $400,000 contract with the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation in favor of a new plan for expanding the VC campus in Gonzales.

The canceled contract allows for GEDC to contribute $400,000 and the city of Gonzales to contribute $175,000 toward adding two new classrooms and a training lab for welding, electrical and HVAC programs in Gonzales.

The first contract called for expansion on to existing VC facilities in Gonzales, but bids for the project came in higher than anticipated, Butler said.

A new agreement, approved by the Gonzales City Council on Dec. 6, moves the expansion to a former Quality Chevrolet building, 1814 St. Paul St. The building, which is across the street from VC's Gonzales Center, was abandoned in bankruptcy, Butler said.

"The city will be our partner. They purchased the property, and we'll work with them to get it renovated," Butler said.

The college will use donations to remodel the existing center and add training labs to the new site.

The project is expected to begin in the next few months, Butler said.



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