SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — Howard College hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 14, to commemorate the construction of its new Electrical and Plumbing Training Facility.

The ceremony took place at 10 a.m. at Howard College’s “Construction Row,” located at 3501 N. U.S. Highway 67. There, representatives from the Lowe’s Foundation and the Home Builders Association of San Angelo gathered alongside local officials, members of the media, college students and more to break the soil for the training facility’s first day of official construction.

The ceremony featured speeches, a preview of the facility’s plans and an official check presentation from Lowe’s representatives.

The new facility was made possible after the college received a $400,000 grant in late July 2023 from the Lowe’s Foundation as part of the foundation’s Gable Grants program. The Gable Grants program is a “5-year, $50 million commitment to train 50,000 job-ready skilled tradespeople to build a stronger infrastructure that supports our communities for the long term,” according to the Lowe’s Foundation. Assistance from the Home Builders Association of San Angelo also helped make the facility a reality.

Members from the Lowe’s Foundation, Home Builders Association of San Angelo and more broke ground on the site of the upcoming Electrical and Plumbing Training Facility.

Initially centered on electrical training, the facility will feature cutting-edge equipment, industry-standard tools and immersive simulation opportunities in an effort by the college to set a new standard for vocational education in West Texas. The building will also house a plumbing training program in the future.

“We are incredibly honored to mark this groundbreaking milestone,” Pam Callan, provost of Howard College, said. “This facility will serve as a beacon of opportunity for aspiring electricians and plumbers, providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to excel in their careers.”

The facility will join the Builders of San Angelo Workshop, a building dedicated in October 2021 that was designed to help SAISD’s Career and Technical Education students refine their skills through classes offered at the site. Both the workshop and the neighboring windmill were the result of community partnerships, as is also the case with the soon-to-be facility.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed to this endeavor, and we look forward to the positive impact this facility will have on our community and beyond,” Callan said.