Phillips 66 Process Technology Building dedicated at SOWELA - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Phillips 66 Process Technology Building dedicated at SOWELA

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Those from various sectors of the community gathered on the campus at SOWELA on Wednesday to celebrate the new Process Technology Center which began with a $2 million donation from Phillips 66, after extensive damage from Hurricane Rita.

Willie Tempton, Phillips 66 Refinery Manager, said the program is important to industry in the area.

"This is going to keep us in a leading position with regard to having the tools and the technologies and people in place to make sure that we are on the leading edge," said Tempton.

Historic pictures unveiled showed the local evolution of what began as Conoco and is now Phillips 66, while a tour of the center and its hands-on training capabilities revealed a pathway for those seeking to be part of the industrial growth to come.

The process technology center is going to play a key role as far as meeting the training needs for explosive development down the road.

SOWELA Chancellor, Dr. Neil Aspinwall, gave a tour through the new facility.

"The building contains computer labs, simulation laboratories and we have hot plants -- actual equipment that the students use in industry, but they only use water. So, it's non volatile, it's an actual working plant inside this building," said Aspinwall.

He said the new Process Technology Center is only the beginning.

"This building is an excellent first step to help us grow capacity and start producing the workforce that these industries are needing. Now we know that process technology is not the only field, but it's one of the bigger ones," said Aspinwall.

Interim Process Technology Chair David Lafargue said they are working to provide training for skilled workers who will be needed.

"There's things we're working on as far as recruitment. There's things we're working on as far as different types of expansion. We're thinking outside the box. We're doing a lot of good stuff. And there's a lot of different technology we're going to incorporate. We're taking a great program and just enhancing it and so we have some bright future for it," said Lafargue.

The building has more than 12,000 square feet of instruction space, including a main lab with six plant simulations and an operator control room. And officials said there is a lot more to come as SOWELA expands to meet the community's needs.

Look for our web extra to hear more of our interview with Dr. Aspinwall and David Lafargue.

For links to information about SOWELA degree offerings, check the main page and for opportunities to visit the campus look at the Academic Calendar.

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