Silsbee EDC News
Andrew Nenque/The Enterprise
Lamar Institute of Technology student Jarret Lejeune organizes climbing gear bags for his utility line technology program course Monday in Silsbee. The course has moved from their location in Beaumont to the Robinson Center site in Silsbee to accommodate the program’s growth.
LIT sets up new line shop in Silsbee
By JACQUELINE LANE,
The Beaumont Enterprise
Lamar Institute of Technology has hauled some of its utility poles, trucks and climbing gear to the Frank Robinson Center in Silsbee, the new home of the utility line program.
Soon, more utility poles, wires and transformers weighing up to 800 pounds also will head to the program's new digs.
Officials spent two weeks moving the program and equipment needed to the new site so utility line classrooms, offices and other equipment would be ready for the first day of class.
"For this program we need a lot of field space and there is more room (at the Silsbee campus)," program director Rusty Koenig said via telephone. The location also is more central for students coming from Jasper, Newton and Polk counties.
Students had been training on property just south of Cardinal Stadium at Lamar University, officials said. The move to Silsbee meant more classroom and lab space and a bigger outdoor training area.
Koenig said there is a huge demand from contractors and utility companies for utility line workers, with many students getting jobs before graduating. That demand generated the need for the LIT expansion.
LIT's program is one of the few in a five-state area. Classes are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Students starting this fall will graduate with a certificate of completion in May.
LIT's Frank Robinson Center is a former Silsbee Independent School District elementary school. An agreement between the entities allows the institute to use the facility rent-free. However, LIT has the responsibility for utilities and maintenance at the 10-acre campus.
This is the first year LIT has operated out of the Robinson campus. The college took possession of the building in fall 2005, said Harry Wood, director of public information.
A $50,000 grant from the Silsbee Economic Development Corp. helped pay for the installation of a wireless computer system at the campus, where continuing education computer courses, along with work-force training will be offered, according to a news release.
Already LIT offers continuing education classes in welding and heating ventilation and air conditioning at Silsbee Middle School during the fall, spring and summer semesters.