Seminole Community College and the Central Florida Auto Dealers Assn. opened a new Professional Automotive Training Center on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
It is a 52,000 sq.-ft. $10.1-million state-of-the-art facility, the result of a 10-year fund-raising and lobbying effort.
“In 1996, we realized SCC's growing automotive technology programs were housed in out-dated buildings that jeopardized future expansion,“ says CFADA Executive Vice President Barbara Miller. “As a result, our members launched a campaign to collect $2.5 million for the construction of a new automotive training center.“
In 2003, the CFADA reached its fund-raising goal and looked to Florida's state legislature to match its contribution.
“When the state was unable to provide matching funds in 2003, Barbara and 10 CFADA members enthusiastically ‘marched’ on Tallahassee during the 2004 session,“ says SCC President E. Ann McGee. “They made it clear to the legislators that private business support was worth recognizing and their efforts insured SCC's receipt of a $2.5 million state match to complete the automotive center funding.
“The CFADA's passion for the project was met, not only with a financial match, but an additional $1.5 million, which was made possible by support from Senator Daniel Webster.“
Ground was broken in Oct. 2004 on the facility which will enhance the training of a desperately needed workforce.
The center will allow SCC to improve and expand its current automotive programs, develop new curriculum and make it possible to offer dual-enrollment opportunities to high school students. Those students will then feed into SCC's college-level programs, resulting in economic benefits that will impact the local community for years to come.
“Not once during the past 10 years did I ever doubt we would be preparing for this grand opening celebration,“ says Jim Cox, the school's automotive programs chairman.