One of the region's foremost technical colleges plans to open a satellite campus in that should be ready for students by the Fall 2012 semester.
Ranken Technical College, which now operates one campus in the Central West End, will move into a to-be-determined 6,000 to 8,000 square-foot facility by June. That agreement was solidified during the city's Board of Alderman meeting Wednesday evening.
Ranken, according to the school's website, offers technical training in automotive, construction, electrical, information technology and machining. For a complete list of degrees and certificates, CLICK HERE. The college has a 98 percent placement rate for graduates.
In September, the as the college was deciding on where to open its next campus.
The college will enter into a three year lease, in which the city would pay for the $80,000 a year rent. The city will also be on the hook for the $120,000 a year price tag that comes with staffing the facility—a $320,000 bill over the course of the three-year lease. However, the staffing costs can be offset if the city seeks additional funding from outside sources.
The idea of assuming that bill scared a few alderman. But the board said it will look to corporations and non-profit organizations to recoup most, if not all, of that money.
Larry Tucker, Wentzville's manager of marketing and business development, said the investment would pay off big dividends for years to come.
"This is a good investment that the board of alderman is making for the future of Wentzville," he said. "We are attracting a true partner that will provide long term benefits to citizens, employees, city employees and industries ... we will reap long term benefits from this investment."
Greg Prestemon, president and CEO of the St. Charles County Economic Development Center, said the agreement is a risk, but called it a bold step.
"The timing of this investment couldn't be better," he said. "Ranken will have a tangible, physical presence in the county and Wentzville and that, in and of itself, will attract interest from funders, employers and students."
Prestemon said the EDC would readiliy help city officials secure corporate funding.
Ranken President Stan Shoun, who attended the meeting, said the college's newest campus will positively effect both parties.
Shoun said 40 percent of the economy is run by baby boomers, a generation that will soon be leaving the work force. As it stands, there isn't enough workers to fill those vacancies.
"That is an investment for this city across the board," he said. "Sooner or later, America has got to get back to building. And you need a skilled work force to do that."
The facility will likely contain four to five classrooms, a couple of computer classrooms, a half dozen offices, a conference room and bathrooms.
It must also allow for potential future expansion into adjacent leasable space.
To download a copy of the agreement between Wentzville and Ranken, CLICK HERE.