MATT RESNICK

Chanute’s USD 413 is in the preliminary stage of authorizing a $500,000 donation to the Neosho County Community College Technical Center. 

The USD 413 Board of Education is expected to approve a Memorandum of Understanding, which is a bilateral agreement between the two parties for the donation. This will take place at Monday’s regular monthly meeting. The board will then vote to approve the transfer of funds at May’s regular board meeting.  Located at 4100 Ross Lane, the NCCC Tech-Ed Center is still under construction, but will ultimately house up to nine programs. Aerostructures and Industrial Maintenance Technology are two new programs that will open to high school students this fall.

USD 413 Superintendent Kellen Adams said the MOA will function as a lifetime contract. 

“The building at Ross Lane is owned by NCCC, but our kids will greatly benefit from the new programs,” Adams told The Tribune. “From the ability to enroll and attend those programs, we will benefit just as much as if our students were college kids.”

The majority of the half-million-dollar donation will go towards instructional equipment costs tied to the programs. Examples include heavy equipment machinery and other miscellaneous items needed for the labs.

“Drywall and electrical in the building doesn’t cost that much,” Adams said. “But when you start bringing in the riveting machine and all the other different machines the kids are working on, that money starts racking up pretty fast.”

NCCC President Dr. Brian Inbody said he’s excited to see the project moving forward at a quickened pace. 

“With the additional resources from 413, we’ll be able to offer lots of new programs there,” he said. “These additional funds will help us look at adding other programs for Fall 2022.” 

The total projected cost for NCCC is $3.2 million.

“The $500,000 is a great kick-start on the $3.2 million, and to that area of the building,” Inbody said. “The college is putting money towards it as well. And hopefully, these other grants we’ve written will be able to help further it, too.” 

Inbody is pleased with USD 413’s donation.

“We are very excited about the very generous gift from USD 413 to move technical education forward in the region and for USD 413 students,” he said. “It’s going to be instrumental to be able to realize these goals sooner rather than later. We very much appreciate the vision of the superintendent and the USD 413 board in making this possible.” 

Inbody said the facility will be built in phases. 

“We’re not going to go and immediately spend all of that money,” he said. “We’re going to be doing it one piece at a time, as funding allows, and as we receive resources.”

Inbody touted the pair of freshly-minted programs, Aerostructures and Industrial Maintenance Technology. 

“The painters are there this week to paint those two labs,” he said, noting that sheetrock and electrical work is nearly completed. “That will be exciting to have those up and running.”

Inbody said the college’s vision is for its technical center to become a regional hub for students. 

“USD 413 is an important partner and will probably be the majority of the students at the center for daytime classes,” he said. “But we’re also seeking enrollment from other surrounding school districts.” 

There is a long-term goal for the project. 

“The ultimate goal is to have seven to nine new programs in that wing,” Inbody said, “and have a career center that is part of the building.”

Inbody said the career center would house NCCC’s career advisor, USD 413’s Tech-Ed coordinator, as well as an office for the KansasWorks job program. 

“So it would be a one-stop career center,” Inbody said. “When people come in looking for services through KansasWorks, they’ll also be able to talk to our career advisor about the wide-range programs we offer.” 

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