PTCC planning $14.9m expansion

Pine Technical and Community College President Joe Mulford said a major expansion is needed to meet the workforce demands of the area.

Pine Technical and Community College (PTCC) is looking ahead toward a major expansion – constructing almost 30,000 square feet of technical and trades laboratories, classrooms, and office spaces, as well as renovating more than 15,000 square feet of existing space for health science programs.

PTCC President Joe Mulford said the school must expand to produce the trained workers needed in east central Minnesota.  He noted that the college offers some of the only technical education options within 60 miles.

“Obviously there is a workforce challenge going on and our region by no means is an exception to that,” Mulford said. “We have got a lot of pressure for people that can work in nursing, welding, run CNC [computer controlled] equipment and accounting, all those things.”

State Senator Jason Rarick and the Minnesota Senate bonding committee recently visited PTCC to find out more about PTCC’s plans for the future.

The school is requesting $635,000 to eliminate three modular buildings, expand course offerings, better utilize technical and trades space at the school and plan for the  major expansion project.

That expansion has an estimated cost of $14.9 million.

Rarick said he supported PTCC’s construction and renovation project.

“PTCC is such an incredible training ground for high-demand, high-growth technical and trade jobs,” Rarick said. “Their planned renovations will help them improve access to great careers, expand their visibility, and continue to be a statewide leader in workforce development.”

“We want to continue to solve workforce challenges but we need some facilities help to do that,” Mulford said. “The last significant addition we put on this building was in 1987 and we are about six times bigger than we were in 1987.”

Mulford pointed out that PTCC’s programs have changed over the years to keep pace with technology, and they keep  trying to fit more options into their limited space.

“When our machine shop ... was built we offered one program in there,” he said. “Now we are running four programs out of there, an automation robotics program, applied engineering, gunsmithing program and our CNC program. If we are to continue ... to grow and support the region, we are going to need some help.”

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