LIBERAL, Kan. — Seward County Community College has purchased a 42,000 square foot building and 11-acre lot in Liberal to serve as the site for its expanded truck driving program and diesel technology program.
“By pausing the bidding process at the end of June to seriously pursue this option, we were able to cut the cost of this major project by more than half,” said SCCC President Brad Bennett. “It’s a huge win for the college, the community, and our region.”
The site will be referred to as the SCCC West Campus.
Since it received a $1.8 million grant from the American Rescue Plan Act for its truck driving and diesel technology programs, the College has been making progress toward expansion. The grant requires the College to match the $1,843,594 on a one-to-one basis. With the purchase of the building, Bennett said the process has taken a giant leap forward.
“When we look at construction costs for the plans our architects have presented, this option is much less expensive, and also speeds up the process because we are not dependent on factors like weather, rain, supply chain delays,” Bennett said. “It’s definitely worth the delay of ironing out the purchase details.”
The building, located just north of Liberal High School at 712 North Western Ave., offers tremendous potential to the college.
“The building is in excellent shape and will enable us to continue with our plan to radically increase the number of CDL drivers we are able to train,” said Bennett, emphasizing the impact that more classes mean more graduates into a workforce desperate for CDL drivers.
“There is also space to upgrade our diesel technology program, including the shop,” he continued. “We are already brainstorming about how to use all the additional space.”
The support from the community and businesses for this initiative has been strong, especially from Sen. Jerry Moran, who is an ardent SCCC supporter and currently working on future congressional funding to benefit the College.
Current plans call for the college to move its CDL and diesel programs into the new location by spring of 2024.
A ribbon-cutting/open house of the facility (712 North Western Avenue) will be held on Thursday, October 5 at noon. The public is invited to attend the ceremony and take a tour of the building. Snacks and refreshments will be served.