(ROSENBERG) – Texas State Technical College and Bartlett Cocke General Contractors celebrated a project milestone for the college’s second building on TSTC’s Fort Bend County campus with a “topping out” ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 22.
A long-standing tradition in the construction industry, a topping out ceremony marks the placement of the last structural beam and celebrates the progress and timely construction of a major project.
“A topping out ceremony is very important in the construction process, because it gives us a point in the progression to pause and celebrate that a lot of people have come together to make a complex thing happen,” said TSTC Chancellor Mike Reeser.
TSTC’s 57,000-square-foot Brazos Center is anticipated to be completed in July, and classes are on track to begin in the new building starting Fall 2017.
The Brazos Center will bring four new programs: Robotics Technology, Electrical Power & Controls, Environmental Technology – Compliance specialization and Electrical Lineworker Technology. The building will also provide space for various student support services, including recruiting, student accounting, veterans programs, financial aid, admissions, a bookstore and a learning resource center.
TSTC Vice Chancellor and Chief Execution Officer Randy Wooten said he expects the new offerings will increase the economic vitality of the region.
“These programs were specifically selected because of the regional employers’ needs, as well as high salaries for the graduates,” Wooten said. “TSTC is an integral part of making ‘the American Dream’ attainable to those who don’t attend a four-year university, and we’re proud of that.”
TSTC’s Fort Bend campus came with encouragement and financial support from the city of Rosenberg, city of Richmond, city of Sugarland, Fort Bend County, Sprint Waste Services, the George Foundation and the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation. The municipalities and foundations made more than $40 million in contributions to help TSTC expand its educational opportunities in the region.
TSTC Regent Joe M. Gurecky, himself a product of technical education, said the college will help make technical education attainable for area residents.
“It’s very dear to me to see technical training brought to Fort Bend County,” Gurecky said. “Many parents feel that a four-year college is something their children must go to, but it isn’t for everybody. TSTC has no problem placing students into employment when there are a lot of people with bachelor’s degrees who are looking for work anywhere just to pay off their student debt. Here, students can attend school and be able to live at home with their parents, making it a lot more affordable for the family. Our students don’t have to get out of college with a huge debt on their shoulders.”
Mary Garza, Bartlett Cocke’s vice president of operations for East Texas Region 4, said the company couldn’t be more proud to work with TSTC to bring the vision to light.
“The completion of this building structure is a major milestone for the TSTC Fort Bend campus and a celebration of yet another success story for a bright future for the students who will emerge as successful skilled technical partners,” Garza said.
Reeser agreed and urged the importance of partnerships.
“I can’t say enough good things about the architect and the builder in this project,” he said. “They’ve done simply an outstanding job on this building and the one that preceded it. Regarding partnerships, there’s no worthy endeavor that happens when someone works alone. Partnerships are the key to making really important things happen. You can search all over Texas and you won’t find a better community to make things happen than the communities in Fort Bend County.”
Ultimately, the TSTC campus will boast six to eight buildings and be able to serve a projected enrollment of 5,000 students.
TSTC serves Texas through 10 campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County. TSTC has graduated more than 100,000 students into the state workforce in its 50-year history.
For more information on TSTC in Fort Bend, visit tstc.edu.