BBCC’s PTEC Proposal Tops State's Community College Priority List

Posted on Apr 22, 2014

A proposal to build a Professional/Technical Education Center (PTEC) at Big Bend Community College is ranked first on the 2015-17 priority list for new major projects among the state’s community colleges.

If funded next year, PTEC will be the largest capital project in the college’s history.

“It is the best news we could have received before the next Legislative session,” said BBCC President Terry Leas. “Everyone in the Big Bend family is excited the PTEC project scored so well.”

BBCC officials learned April 21 the college’s proposal for a $32 million, 76,000-square-foot facility was ranked at the top of the community college system’s capital budget priority list for 2015-17.

Gail Hamburg, Vice President for Financial & Administrative ServicesThe proposal was prepared by Gail Hamburg, Vice President for Financial and Administrative Services. She worked with an architectural firm, BBCC faculty and staff, and colleagues around the state to make a “compelling case” for PTEC.

“It is nice to be at the top (of the list) because you don’t have to worry about making the cutoff if there is not enough funding for all the projects,” Hamburg said.

The proposal was one of 19 submitted in late February to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Ten projects will be recommended for funding State Board.

The PTEC project will be included in the State Board’s 2015-17 capital budget request set for approval at its May 7 meeting. The Legislature will decide the level of capital funding allocated to community and technical colleges in early 2015.

The PTEC could be completed in late 2018 or early 2019, according to college officials.BBCC’s proposal cited the needs of a growing base of manufacturing employers within its service district. Manufacturing now makes up more than 15.5 percent of nonfarm employment in BBCC’s service district, compared to 9.5 percent in Washington State and 8.8 percent in the nation.

With a large and growing proportion of the workforce employed in manufacturing, the demand for a PTEC to serve workforce needs of local employers was part of the narrative for the compelling case for PTEC, Leas said. The condition of current facilities, especially related to safety and space, were other important considerations.

Most of BBCC’s professional/technical programs are located in 60-year-old buildings constructed for Larson Air Force Base. Those programs include automotive technology, aviation maintenance technology, industrial systems technology, and welding. The current facilities weren’t designed for education and training and are substandard and too small.

“We don’t have the space and equipment to accommodate our partnerships with local employers and local school districts,” Leas said. “A modern education center will be designed to align with and supplement the new Moses Lake School District’s Skills Center and ensure a seamless transition from high school to college.”