Pulaski Technical College will celebrate the grand opening of its newly expanded Aerospace Technology Center at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 2. The center is located at 1600 W. Maryland Ave., next to the North Little Rock Airport.
Guest speakers will include Gov. Mike Beebe, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, U.S. Representative Vic Snyder, North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, and Camilla Osborne, director of operations management for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
The 25,000-square-foot expansion, completed over the summer, includes a hangar-style laboratory, four classrooms, administrative offices, teaching and testing labs and other amenities.
"Our new facility will enable the college to train more workers for jobs in the aerospace industry, which continues to be our state's largest export industry," said Dr. Dan F. Bakke, college president.
About 100 students are enrolled in programs at the Aerospace Technology Center, which is an FAA-certified school for training aircraft maintenance technicians.
The college offers an Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology and certification programs in Aircraft Manufacturing, Avionics/Electronics Technology, and Aircraft Maintenance.
The expansion was funded in part by a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration; a $1.75 million provided through the Arkansas Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act of 2005; and a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, which was part of the Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative designed to help community colleges equip workers with the skills needed by growing local industries.
Gov. Mike Beebe also showed support for the project with a $500,000 allocation from the General Improvement Fund in 2008.
Pulaski Tech also is slated to receive $500,000 through the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. In August, Gov. Beebe announced $42.5 million in funding for renovation, energy-efficiency upgrades, and expansion of higher-education facilities.
Pulaski Tech will use the funds to renovate the Aerospace Technology Center's original, 10,000-square-foot building, which was constructed in 1983.