LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
Possibly the biggest change in SOWELA's 75 year history, "Our P-Tech building - Process and Technology building - opens officially this semester, which is today," said Dr. Neil Aspinwall, Chancellor of SOWELA.
A grand, new, state-of-the-art facility for students studying Process Technology, the most popular major at SOWELA Technical Community College.
"With a new building we can offer updated equipment, more space for the students and more services" Aspinwall said. "We have a new Arts and Sciences building that will be... we're told will be finished by the end of October. Also, before the end of the year, we'll break ground on the new Allied Health and Nursing building."
Being such an old school, Aspinwall says the new building will mix the traditional idea of trade school with new-age learning.
"This is not your granddaddy's old trade school anymore," said Aspinwall. "But at the same time, we have to be true to our roots. We are still technical in nature."
The P-Tech building is not the only change on campus. With the Process Technology building complete, the College of Arts and Sciences almost finished and the Nursing and Health Sciences building in beginning stages of construction, Aspinwall says he still has more in store for the Lake Charles campus.
"What we want to do is try to transform SOWELA into a true community college and a true community college campus" said Aspinwall. "We're going to do that through a new master landscape plan. We're going to add some functionality and feature to these buildings and the grounds where when you walk around, you have a campus like a traditional campus."
While the campus beautification may seem like a big feat, it's the mindset of SOWELA's rigid past, that Aspinwall hopes to break.
"We are a community college. If you want to come here and train quickly to go back in the industry we can do that. If you want to go back in two years and get a career, we can do that. Or if you want to come here and get your basics to transfer to a four year college, we also can do that too," he said.