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US university Butte College welding students leave their mark on new facility

Over 50 Butte College welding students along with faculty, staff and trustees left their mark Friday on the new welding and manufacturing facility under construction.

They were invited to sign their names on a beam that will become part of the 59,525-square-foot building slated to open in September 2019. The $18.1 million budget for the project comes from Measure J, a $190 million bond measure voters approved in 2016.

Butte College President Samia Yaqub said the new welding training facility would be double the size of the existing one and would provide students with “state-of-the-art” resources.

The new building will house four classrooms, two welding labs with 92 welding stations, a manufacturing lab, a large outdoor laboratory and rod and tank storage. A rooftop solar system will be installed, as the district plans to put in place enough renewable energy systems to offset the additional consumption.

Don Robinson, the college’s director of industrial technology programmes, said the program has outgrown its previous facility which has 60 welding booths. Robinson was a welding instructor at the college for about 15 years.

“We have a tremendous waiting list of anywhere from 125 to 175 students every year trying to get into our program, the welding technology program,” Robinson said. “The building will also create a new program in advanced manufacturing that will consist of another 24 students being served.”

He said students largely come from the North State and the Bay Area and also as far south as Bakersfield for training at Butte College.

The lead contractor for the project is Slater & Son of Chico, which has partnered with JK Architecture & Engineering from Auburn.