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Western Technical College is on the move, and it’s opening plenty of bids

By Ann Knoedler

Western Technical College is moving its Black River Falls campus, and the benefits are many.

Renovations to Existing Building for New Western Technical College (WTC) Campus-Phase I Mechanical and Electrical Bid Package, 22 Fillmore Ave., Black River Falls, Jackson County

Renovations to Existing Building for New Western Technical College (WTC) Campus, 22 Fillmore Ave., Black River Falls, Jackson County

Internal Communications Wiring Installation for Western Technical College, Black River Falls, Jackson County

Let me count the ways.

To resolve its need for more space, WTC made the decision to move from the industrial park at 808 Red Iron Road, Black River Falls, to a site downtown. It will take an empty IGA Grocery Store at 22 Fillmore St. off the city’s hands and transform it into a technical college that will include classrooms, student resource center and office space.

This will be accomplished with the assistance of Fowler & Hammer Inc., the project’s general contractor, and HSR Associates Inc., the project architect — both from La Crosse.

The mechanical, electrical and general construction subcontractor bids were received and opened Oct. 5 for this project. And on Oct. 15, WTC will be opening bids for Internal Communication Wiring Installation to further complete the project.

Downtown businesses are looking forward to an increase in sales with a college campus in their midst, and the college is looking forward to being centrally located for the convenience of all who attend.

And to come full circle, WTC will not be leaving an empty building in its wake. The Ho-Chunk Nation has agreed to purchase the industrial park building because they were looking for office space to house social services employees.

Technical Colleges appear strong in Wisconsin. A search of The Daily Reporter JobTrac database found 60 plus construction projects that were bid so far this year for various technical college districts in this state.

The Wisconsin Technical College System has 16 technical college districts throughout Wisconsin. The Western Technical College district alone has a presence in seven cities and six counties: La Crosse, Black River Falls, Independence, Mauston, Sparta, Tomah and Viroqua.

The WTC System’s new Graduate Follow-up Report indicates that 86 percent of last year’s technical college graduates in the labor force were employed within six months of graduation.

• Keep your eyes open for the results of an ambitious referendum that will be held Nov. 4. The Madison Area Technical College is seeking permission to issue $133,770,000 in general obligation bonds for new construction, expansion and facility upgrades.

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She’s a frequent searcher of the JobTrac database — and that’s like saying the miners are mildly pleased to be back above ground.

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