Parkland College’s enrollment in the welding, automotive and construction programs has continued to grow. The on-campus space allocated has not been sufficient or efficient for many years. Between FY 2003 and 2007, enrollment has increased by 38.6% in welding courses (seat count=158 in FY2007), 52.9% in Ford Asset courses (208 seats in FY2007), and 26.1% in Auto Collision Repair (411 seats in FY2007).
To accommodate this growth, these programs and courses have been housed in temporary or in-adequate on-campus structures or leased off-campus facilities. The Auto Collision Repair program is currently located in leased, inadequate facilities off-campus. After September 11, 2001, the College was forced to move its welding courses from a leased Willard Airport facility to an inadequate one because of security reasons. This current facility, in the S-wing on campus, is possibly the most heavily scheduled assignable space at Parkland as the labor demand for skilled welders is high and continues to grow. A HVAC certificate program was added to meet the demand from the industry. Furthermore, the Ford ASSET program has expanded and other applied technologies classes are scattered throughout campus. Finally, a waiting list of students for the Diesel Power Equipment Technology program coupled with requests from the diesel industry to graduate more students indicates that expansion of the square footage devoted to diesel programs is warranted.
Most of these programs and courses are not located near the other technical programs or each other, reducing the educational benefits to students. Students taking these courses do not have easy access to general education classes and student services such as advising and career planning that other on-campus students do. This reduced access is a barrier to the College mission of providing quality education and services for its students. Therefore, Parkland College is seeking funding for the Applied Technology Addition. The proposed facility will house instructional areas in support of the college’s technical programs. The facility will provide space for the Auto Collision Repair, Ford Asset programs, additional space for the diesel program, HVAC, welding, and some construction courses.