PUEBLO – Pueblo Community College on Tuesday unveiled the results of a $1.3 million renovation to its welding labs.
Representatives from PCC were joined by State Rep. Daneya Esgar and State Sen. Leroy Garcia, both of whom represent Pueblo, for the event.
Jennifer Sherman, dean of PCC’s business and advanced technology division, said the completed project allows the college to expand enrollment and meet the regional and statewide workforce demand. PCC currently has more than 150 welding majors and classes run from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the week.
“This has increased the flexibility of the shop quite a bit and given our instructors some latitude with how they teach and ways to improve their teaching,” Sherman said.
The weld shop was expanded by more than 1,600 square feet, bringing the total space to more than 6,000 square feet. Ten new welding stations were added along with numerous enhanced safety features, new lighting and dedicated space for major fabrication equipment. In addition, the entire ventilation system was upgraded with new ducts, exhaust fans and a dust collector.
Welding Program Manager Catlin Davis said students now can learn the four major welding processes – stick, TIG, MIG and flux cored arc welding – on one machine, allowing them to spend more time in one place and build the muscle memory needed to improve their skills.
PCC was able to complete the renovation and expansion thanks to funding from the state Capital Development Committee. The money was left over from funds authorized in SB17-267 (Sustainability of Rural Colorado) for other state projects. The total amount allocated to PCC was $1,349,041.
Esgar was chair of the Capital Development Committee in 2017, when the money for the project was approved.
“I brought the entire committee to Pueblo and toured the shop and invited folks at PCC to explain to the committee what expanding the shop would do for not only PCC, but southern Colorado in general,” Esgar said. “When we went back to the table at the capitol and started talking about what projects we were going to be able to fund… it wasn’t just me anymore pushing for this welding shop at Pueblo Community College, it was the entire team of the Capital Development Committee because they understood and saw what an important investment this is.”
PCC President Patty Erjavec said being able to offer students a first-class learning environment will pay off as soon as they begin their career.
“When you go into the workforce and people see that you’ve graduated from Pueblo Community College… they know that you have the skills to be a great worker and a great contributor to that business or industry,” she said.
Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College is a premier teaching institution focused on providing academic and service excellence to help its students acquire the 21st Century skills needed to better their lives. An educational and technological leader, PCC fosters economic development and utilizes strong partnerships in the communities it serves through its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.