Oneonta, Ala. – Governor Kay Ivey and state and local elected officials joined the City of Oneonta and Blount County on Thursday, Oct. 19, to celebrate a groundbreaking for the Wallace State-Oneonta Classroom and Workforce Development Center. At the ceremony, Gov. Ivey presented a grant for $2.3 million for the project, which will be located on the corner of First Avenue and First Street in downtown Oneonta.
“This is a great day for Alabama,” said Governor Ivey. “By 2020, 62 percent of all the jobs in Alabama will require a postsecondary degree or certificate. Today, only 37 percent of our workforce have such a credential. Today, we celebrate a commitment to educate future generations…and I am especially proud to begin this project in rural Alabama.”
The project will consist of 20,000 square feet of new construction – one 15,000-square-foot building and a second 5,000 square-foot building – dedicated to the growing number of students and the expanding curriculum offered at Wallace State-Oneonta. GMC is the architect for the project, which will include multi-use classrooms for workforce development and other community and economic development opportunities.
“What an absolute pleasure it is to arrive at this day, the culmination of five years of planning,” said Wallace State President Vicki Karolewics. “Wallace State is indeed honored to call Oneonta home, and to work hand in hand with City of Oneonta and Blount County representatives to expand workforce and economic development.”
The academic center will feature six classrooms and two larger laboratories, along with supporting offices and facilities. The smaller building will be constructed across the street from the academic center and will be dedicated to workforce development training, with space for Economic Development Council offices. Two meeting rooms will accommodate workforce development projects such as job fairs, special joint-venture technology training applications with other colleges and universities and other workforce and community development activities.
When complete, the education and training provided through Wallace State’s new Oneonta facility “will lead to generational change and prosperity for Alabama,” Dr. Karolewics said.
Construction is slated for completion in the spring of 2019.