Olathe opens new facility to teach the trades

September 24, 2013 by  

The Olathe Advanced Technology Center had its grand opening this month. The center, which comprises 32,000 square feet, teaches such trades as welding, collision technology, and automotive technology.

The students on board at the new institution come from 17 schools throughout Johnson County and although the opening was just this month, classes have met since the beginning of the school year.

The center is state-of-the-art, cost $6.2 million, and is designed to teach students the skills they will need to pursue fulfilling careers without going on to college. The new center replaces Millcreek Center, the previous trade school, and students say it represents a significant improvement.

Alexa Bustamante, a welding student, explains that the new welding area is twice as large as the old one, and that means students have a lot of room to work, which makes things much safer. There are 18 welding booths in the new shop, all equipped with a new ventilation system. Bustamante noted that in the old building, debris and fumes would sometimes blow back at the welders, but now the new system extracts everything immediately.

Similar positive comments came from students in the auto workshops, who have new paint booths and a spacious paint storage room to make it easy to find the right paint and avoid spills.

Center officials could work with brochure printers to create a mailer for county residents, listing the courses offered and suggesting the new facility as an alternative to college.