Students at Tooele Applied Technology College walked into a new world last week.
The new $15.5 million TATC building at 88 S. Tooele Boulevard opened its doors to students on May 1. The structure features 74,000 square feet.
“We’ve been waiting for this for years,” said Scott Snelson, TATC campus president. “This new facility is a great addition to the community and it will allow us to expand our programs and services.”
Currently the TATC has 450 students enrolled. With the expanded capacity of the new building, Snelson expects enrollment to climb to over 1,100 students in the next two years.
The TATC building was designed to be a functional educational facility and incorporated design features to make the entire building a work of art, according to Snelson.
A view of the building’s front from the parking lot reveals features selected to represent Tooele County’s industrial history with weathered steel panels, tall wooden beams, plates of glass, and tilt-up textured concrete panels.
The wood columns that sit in front of the entrance to the building were originally part of a railroad trestle built in 1903 that crossed the Great Salt Lake. The beams sat underwater for over 100 years. The salt-preserved wood is also used for benches just outside the building’s front doors.
Once inside the building, a glance upwards to an open ceiling reveals industrial lights that are suspended and appear to fly across the open area and gently curve down the visible second story hallway.
The design, imparting a feeling of flight, is a reminder that the building stands on what once was the Tooele City Municipal Airport.
The building was oriented so views from large glass windows in the hallways and classrooms overlook the Great Salt Lake to the north and Tooele Valley’s mountains and canyons to the west and east.
The first floor commons area includes the student services center, which has rooms for student placement and assessment, a media center, lounge area, bookstore and a commercial kitchen for food services.
The bookstore will serve both Utah State University and TATC students.
The building has instructional suites for each of the programs offered by TATC.
The allied health suite looks like a small hospital, complete with hospital beds and a minor surgery unit.
Allied health students can practice their skills on digital mannequins while instructors observe and evaluate the simulated lessons in an adjacent room.
The business technology area includes a large room filled with computers for individualized instruction and a separate “quiet room” with computers for testing.
The information technology suite has a room with a mock server unit with a raised floor for cabling so students can get realistic training in all facets of information technology.
While practicing in the simulator room students can get a glimpse of the real world through windows that offer a view of the school’s servers.
The north wing of the building consists of high bay shops for the industrial, mechanical, and construction trade programs.
Skylights flood each shop area with daylight.
Across the street from TATC is the Tooele County School District’s Community Learning Center. The TATC utilizes the CLC to teach cosmetology.
TATC was created by the state legislature in 2009 after the responsibility for applied technology education in Salt Lake County was taken from the former Salt Lake/Tooele Applied Technology College and given to Salt Lake Community College.
TATC, headed by Snelson, took over responsibility for state applied technology education programs for Tooele County.
The legislation that created TATC allocated no funds for buildings. Since that time, TATC has worked out of rented facilities, including the former Tooele County School District administrative building on Vine Street, the upstairs of the Christensen and Griffith office building, and the Utah Industrial Depot.
The opening of TATC marks the culmination of a community effort, according to Snelson.
The building sits on land owned by Utah State University. Ten million dollars for the building’s construction came from the state legislature, $4.5 million came from the Tooele City Redevelopment Agency, and $1 million was raised from private donations, Snelson said.
The new facility will allow TATC to add programs in industrial maintenance, heavy duty mechanics, nail technician, and professional truck driving.
In the near future, Snelson has plans to add nursing and construction technology to TATC’s offerings.
The nursing program will be in conjunction with USU. TATC will offer a program for certified nurse assistants and licensed practical nurses and USU will offer courses to train registered nurses using the TATC facility.
TATC reviews its program offerings on an annual basis. Programs that don’t fit a need, determined largely by placement rates, are phased out and new programs that fit local needs are added, Snelson said.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at TATC on June 5 at 11 a.m. followed by an open house from noon until 6 p.m.
TATC is one of eight regional campuses that are part of the Utah College of Applied Technology. The other seven campuses are located in Logan, Kaysville, St. George, Lehi, Ogden, Cedar City and Roosevelt.