CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After seven years of planning, Trident Technical College is unveiling its new Aeronautical Training Center Friday.
The building itself cost $80 million in state, national and private funds, plus an additional $14 million in equipment.
With companies like Boeing and Volvo growing in the tri-county area, Trident Tech’s President, Mary Thornley, said the new facility in response to the demand for manufacturing careers in the state.
“We’re going to prepare a workforce for these well-paying jobs and we’re going to be able to look inside our state for this talent and not outside,” Thornley said. “We should first look inside because now we have the opportunity and the inspiration for the workforce.”
Every year more than 5,000 students and 120 faculty and staff will use the facility.
Students have been working with the new equipment this week. They said the facility is already making a huge difference as the new space eclipses what they had at the college’s old facility.
“ The first reaction to the new building was really just one word, it was just ‘wow.’ It is a major step up from Berkeley,” student Donovan Simmons said. “The hangers are huge, all the airplanes, there’s more work to do and you’re not out in the heat.”
The building goes beyond classrooms and computers. It has planes that need fixing, a flight simulator and labs specially designed to teach assembly line technology.
Student Daniel Travis also works as a maintenance technician outside of school. He said he does the same type of tasks at work as he does in class.
“I think what the college is doing is giving you real experiences versus dumping you into the market with no experience,” Travis said.
The governor, along with city leaders, are expected to attend tonight’s private grand opening of the training center.