Panola College board approves construction of new energy technology building

Panola College board approves construction of new energy technology building
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 8:21 PM CST
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CARTHAGE, Texas (KLTV) - The Panola College Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new multi-million-dollar energy building at their Tuesday night meeting.

The new facility will play host to some of the college’s most popular programs, which are currently offered in a rather inconspicuous building with limited space.

“We really need more space, and this new facility will allow us to triple our enrollment,” said Dr. Greg Powell, president of Panola College.

Rendering of the new energy technology building at Panola College.
Rendering of the new energy technology building at Panola College.(Panola College)

The new building will feature 32,000 sq. feet of space inside along with a 25,000 sq. foot yard outside. The building will feature a welding lab, engines and compression lab, shops and classrooms for commercial wiring, electrical and motor control, instrumentation, hydraulics and mechanical, along with HVAC.

It’s a major upgrade from their current building, according to Daniel Hall, chair of the energy department.

“Anywhere from five to nine subjects are being taught at one time,” Hall said. “And that’s what the new facility is really going to help alleviate.”

This building currently houses the energy department at Panola College.
This building currently houses the energy department at Panola College.(Blake Holland/KLTV)

“They’re right on top of each other at the moment, and scheduling is a nightmare,” Powell said.

The new building comes at a time of growth in the fields of study being offered at Panola College, according to Natalie Oswalt, dean of arts, sciences, and technology.

“Our programs have grown tremendously,” she said. “With the onset of the petroleum program, we work with industry to see what their needs are and that’s how it’s expanded into our other associate degree programs and then some smaller certificates.”

Oswalt said the new space will allow for some new programs.

“We will be adding some things like drone technology,” she said. “We want to be able to offer that to our students and to businesses. We work with company partners to be able to train. We have OSHA training that we have just started this year for those certifications, along with forklift operating, and other things like that for our company partners.”

Opportunities that will also be offered to students in an effort to increase their skill set heading into the workforce.

“For my graduates in the two-year programs, we have a very high success rate of job placement before they graduate,” Hall said.

Endless opportunities in necessary fields of work as Panola College builds for the future.

“I really am particularly excited about this energy building,” Powell said. “I think that it’s going to change lives.”