Thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board, a new Centralia College campus facility is one step closer to reality.

The college said the addition of the new facility will help expand and enhance career and technical education programs at the school.

“This grant will provide the funding to build the facility and allow members of the [Centralia College] Foundation and the college to focus on securing additional funding for equipment which includes an overhead crane, six heavy equipment simulators, a commercial truck simulator, computer lab, robotics/automation equipment, compressed air system, forklift and miscellaneous program driven equipment and tools,” funding board member Jeff Yanish said in a statement. “The opportunity to support a project which expands and enhances career and technical education programs to serve the economic development needs in the local area falls within the mission of the board. We are excited to see how this project develops.”

The proposed site for the 12,000-square-foot pre-engineered building is adjacent to the technology building and is already zoned for educational use.

In addition to expanding the college’s ability to train on demand in response and anticipation of industry needs, it also will help build up the local workforce and enhance the college’s partnership with local and regional manufacturers.

Going forward, Centralia College also plans to create a mobile classroom for career and technical training that will take simulators and equipment to local high schools. This will expose students to Centralia College’s trades programs, local industry needs, and various career opportunities. According to the college, equipment and training aids will be interchangeable between the mobile classroom and the new building.

Said Christine Fossett, executive director of the Centralia College Foundation, “I am happy to represent the foundation and board on this project for the benefit of the college, businesses, and local trades. Our thanks to the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Board for their support and their confidence in the foundation.”