April 17, 2024

ORBIT Center is underway

Lease agreement approved by SWCC board

Southwestern Community College’s board of trustees approved a lease agreement last week with the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) for the new ORBIT Center.

The Osceola Regional Business and Industrial Technology Center is estimated to be up to a $3.4 million construction project, proposed to be located west of the SWCC Osceola Center on Highway 34.

When complete, the ORBIT Center, owned by CCDC, would be a regional training facility to be used for industrial training needs of private companies, regional secondary schools and the college.

In 2022, the CCDC applied for a United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration grant. In September, they were approved an allocated $2 million in funds toward the project. CCDC has since raised the rest of the funds needed to complete the project.

The 9,000 square foot building is being constructed by Denovo Construction Solutions in West Des Moines. The facility will feature a 7,500 square foot lab area with flexible lab space and a welcome area/student lounge space.

With the approved lease agreement, SWCC will be responsible for all utilities and operational costs of the center. The college will also provide general maintenance and janitorial services, while the CCDC will “keep, repair, operate and maintain the premises.”

A groundbreaking for the center will be held at 10 a.m. March 8.

SWCC Vice President of Economic Development Wayne Pantini said the college hopes to have non-credited classes started by January 2025, with credited classes beginning that fall.

In other SWCC news...

Senior Program Analyst Martin Reeves requested early retirement, which was approved by the board. Also approved were the resignations of Deb Roberts, math instructor; Dr. Tyler Thomas, professional music instructor and Dr. Jeremy Fox, professional music instructor.