Iowa Central Community College will soon be getting more room for its programs after approving plans to purchase office space just outside of Fort Dodge.
On Monday, the board of directors approved the $1.3 million purchase of the Western Express offices, located just south of Fifth Avenue South on Quail Avenue.
The facility includes 18 acres of land and 60,000 square feet of building space.
The Fort Dodge offices of Western Express, shown here, will be purchased by Iowa Central Community College for $1.3 million. The facility will allow the college to expand its truck driving program, said Jim Kersten, Iowa Central’s vice president for external affairs and government relations.
Iowa Central President Dan Kinney said the new space will be helpful to both the college and the community.
"The opportunity to purchase this multi-purpose facility comes at a very critical time in our regional economic recovery as the college prepares to help train the workers for a variety of existing and new industry," he said in a written statement. "The college is bursting at its seams and this space will allow us to cost-effectively provide needed training space for our future economic and workforce growth."
Jim Kersten, the college's vice president for external affairs and government relations, said although the decision to buy the space was just made, there are already plans in the works with what the facility will be used for.
"Initially we'll have the capabilities to expand our truck driving program," he said. "We're talking to our other departments about what they could use the facility for."
Kersten said it's likely the college's vehicles will be moved out to the property.
"We'll develop a plan for short- and long-term training needs," he said. "We'd like to use it as a multi-training facility for all the programs we serve in the region."
He added that preparations to make the space available for the college's use will begin fairly quickly.
"It looks like we will get possession of the building on September 1," he said. "The training facilities will be available starting in January, and maybe earlier for truck driving. But we haven't made the final decision yet on when everything will be moving in."
The project will be funded by money the college has already set aside for "important economic development purposes," according to a statement from Iowa Central.
Because the space is already available, Kinney said this is an advantage to Iowa Central.
"Had the college had to construct similar facilities, including furniture, equipment, telephone equipment, land and concrete parking lots, it would have cost more than $7 million," he said in the statement.
The college will also allow Western Express to use a 9,000-square-foot building for three years. Western Express will be required to pay for all utilities, insurance and repairs under $500 during that time.
Iowa Central's acquisition is the second new development at Western Express facility in 2012.
In April, Calcium Products Inc. broke ground on a plant expansion that will be located on the southern portion of the property.
Western Express, a Nashville, Tenn-based freight hauling company, acquired the property following a merger with Smithway Motor Xpress in 2007. Smithway had been based in Fort Dodge since 1958.