by DWS Blogger | Feb 26, 2016

GROUND BREAKING:  Metropolitan Community College (Nebraska)launched a major expansion project in North Omaha. This $90 million development is taking place at the Fort ‪#‎Omaha‬ campus which includes 3 new state-of-the-art educational buildings and our team in Omaha is thrilled to be a part of it.

Here's the scoop from

"Metropolitan Community College will break ground today on a $90 million expansion aimed at providing improved job training for more students in the trades and technology fields.

The college will use a mix of private and public money to build three new buildings on the south end of the college’s Fort Omaha campus: an academic skills center, the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology and the Construction Education Center.

Randy Schmailzl, Metro’s president, said the expansion will allow the college to consolidate programs now spread throughout the system at one campus, with more space and updated equipment.

Metro has always been responsive to employment needs, but Schmailzl said this will be a whole new level.

“This level is new equipment, new programs and new methodology to train IT workers in the trades,” Schmailzl said. “It’s really the jobs of the future, the ones we don’t know about today, that we’re going to be working towards.”

The project will mean some new programs, more students in some existing disciplines and a permanent home for some technology-related degrees that currently have none, said Executive Vice President Jim Grotrian.

Welding, currently offered throughout Metro’s campuses, will be consolidated at one building with a lot more classroom space. Residential and commercial HVAC programs will be taught together. And at the advanced technology center, critical facilities management will be a flagship program, Grotrian said.

Grotrian hopes that moving the programs physically together will bring cooperation between related disciplines, something he said has happened at the South Campus health professions complex. That consolidation allowed Metro to open up more nursing slots, he said, and he hopes the same will happen for programs like welding.

Programs moving into the new buildings will closely match Omaha’s job creation projections, which show construction, professional services and the trades among the top jobs by 2020. Only health care ranks higher.

“We went through our programs and we only are interested in enlarging the programs that you can get living-wage jobs in,” Grotrian said.

Construction is expected to take about three years. About $45 million of the cost will covered by a 1-cent increase in the property tax rate, approved last year by the Metro board, though some bonds will be issued in the short-term, Schmailzl said. Metro will announce the status of its private fundraising at today’s groundbreaking, with the goal of raising the balance of the $90 million price tag for the construction and classroom equipment.

Tom Eyman, owner of Eyman Plumbing, said hiring for his company is very competitive. He currently employs about 110 people at his La Vista office to do heating and air conditioning, plumbing, pipe insulation and steamfitting work.

Eyman is excited about improved facilities and more qualified workers to choose from in what he called a competitive job market for HVAC workers and plumbers. “As a whole, this could give us an influx of skilled personnel that we don’t have today,” Eyman said."