Trident Tech to build $79M aeronautical center

By Ashley Barker
Published Nov. 26, 2013

Charleston County Council will discuss funding a $79 million aeronautical training center at Trident Technical College during a Dec. 5 finance committee meeting.

Earlier this year, the Boeing Co. announced a second development phase at the company’s 787 manufacturing and assembly operation in North Charleston. Economic development and Boeing officials said the expansion will bring 2,000 more workers and $1.1 billion in investment to South Carolina during the next eight years.

The center at Trident Tech’s campus in North Charleston is expected to provide training in aircraft assembly, aircraft maintenance and avionics for the college’s academic programs. Training for Boeing employees and area vendors through the ReadySC program, which is housed at Trident Tech, is also expected to take place in the center.

The 215,000-square-foot facility will have space for classrooms, laboratories, open bay areas to accommodate aircraft and large parts, shops, offices and administrative areas. A 100,000-square-foot aircraft ramp also will be included.

The center is still in its proposal stage, and funding has not yet been secured. The state is expected to fund 65% of the project, or $51.25 million. Charleston County will be asked for $18.75 million, and $8 million is anticipated by Trident Tech, $4 million in cash along with $4 million in land value. North Charleston will be asked to add the remaining $1 million.

The college owns 25 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to its main campus, according to David Hansen, director of public information at Trident Tech. He said if the facility is approved, it will be constructed on that site, which was established in 2006 as an enterprise campus.

“The proposed aeronautical training center will provide skills and training critical to attracting the suppliers and vendors that will grow the aeronautical cluster in South Carolina,” said Trident Tech President Mary Thornley in a statement. “It is not so much what this center will do for Trident Technical College but what it will do for the entire state.”

She said Trident needs a facility that shows it can provide the workforce to support companies interested in South Carolina.

“What we see today is the tip of the iceberg,” Thornley said. “We must plan now for a facility to train a specialized workforce that will help build and sustain a competitive position for our region and state.”

Reach Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker.

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