It began seven years ago when Mid-Willamette Valley voters approved $92 million in general obligation bonds for Chemeketa Community College.
It culminated on the evening of Oct. 8, with the official ribbon cutting of a state-of-the-art complex for Chemeketa’s applied technology programs on the Salem campus.
“We’re committed to providing skilled technicians for our regional workforce,” President Julie Huckestein told a gathered crowd of hundreds at the ceremony. “Chemeketa will meet with employers, anticipate their needs and provide students with the skills to step into a job and produce.
“We see these projects as symbols of community support,” Huckestein said.
Betsy Earls, chairperson of Chemeketa’s Board of Education, said the buildings were constructed with vision and collaboration.
“They represent places where students bring their dreams of becoming professionals,” Earls said. “The resources we provide in these buildings, along with the dedication of faculty and staff, will turn all of these students into skilled technicians who are able to contribute productively to all the industries of our region.”
Student Meghan Fleming also spoke to the crowd about what the new construction means to her. Fleming was once homeless, and is now studying at Chemeketa with the goal of building high-tolerance airplane parts.
“I believe (the new construction) will help me thrive in today’s industries…all the graduates I believe will be well-prepared for the next workforce, and I will be one of them,” Fleming said.
The applied technology complex incorporates two new buildings and a major renovation of another. Building 20 houses the college’s computer-assisted drafting, engineering and machining technology programs. Building 21 houses the lab space for welding. A renovated Building 4 is home to the automotive technology, electronics, robotics and visual communication programs.
The complex is the fourth and final major project from the bond. The previous three – the Building 8 health science complex on the Salem campus, a new Yamhill Valley campus, and new classroom buildings at the Brooks Regional Training Center – all opened in 2011.