In an Iowa Central Community College Board of Directors meeting on Monday afternoon, the members decided that the college would purchase the Western Express Offices in Fort Dodge. The college board has approved the purchase of the site on Quail Avenue for $1.3 million dollars.
Jim Kersten, vice president of for external affairs and government relations says that everyone involved is thrilled with the expansion. Kersten said, "It's just going to be great. It's a property. We got it at a great price. And it's actually very good timing because without this purchase, we were looking at having to build other facilities, which depending on size would have cost us 4-8 million dollars." He added that Iowa Central is essentially landlocked near the campus.
Kersten said that the building will be used to help expand the college's truck driving program, along with other industrial tech programs related to the Ag Park west of town. The project will be funded by money the college has already set aside for economic development reasons.
Earlier this year, the college also received the Sun Apartments as a donation from owners Don Woodruff and Bill Woodruff. Those apartments are currently being renovated, and will be used for additional student housing. Jim Kersten says that the market decides how quickly Iowa Central expands. "We have a multi-year plan in place, but we just have to take it year by year. The marketplace determines what we need for our students. With the Sun Apartments, we desperately needed more housing. This just gives us an opportunity to provide a better experience for our students.
The college receives possession on the building in September, and hopes to at least have the Trucking Class situated by early January.
Western Express merged with Smithway several years ago, but eventually closed the offices.