By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
November 21, 2013
Corsicana — Navarro College Board of Trustees President Lloyd Huffman called Thursday night’s college board meeting in Fairfield “historic.”
And it was an historic night for the college, as trustees approved the purchase of a building complex in the Freestone County town for the purpose of opening a career and technical center.
The college is purchasing the former Windstream Communications property on Commerce Street in Fairfield from the Fairfield Industrial Development Corporation. The 11-acre complex with six existing buildings is being purchased for $500,000 according to terms disclosed at Thursday’s meeting.
Built in 1960, and upgraded in 1984, the complex was originally the location of a Continental Telephone regional office — later Windstream Communications. It was acquired by the Fairfield Industrial Development Corporation, who put about $175,000 into renovations for the complex — renovations the college is getting at no charge.
One Navarro College class is already being taught at the complex — a welding class that began in September. The college will pay the corporation $65,000 for an air filtration system being installed in that building.
Additional career and technical programs being considered by Navarro College for the new center include power plant management, petroleum technology, criminal justice, classes in the health professions, accounting, agriculture, and dual-credit courses, said Dr. Harold Housley, vice-president of academic affairs.
“The list is endless,” Housley said of program offerings that could be considered at the new center. “We will work with local industries to develop specific programs.”
Housley also said the Fairfield public library is studying the possibility of moving to the new campus grounds as well.
No Navarro County tax dollars will be used for the purchase or operation of the Fairfield property, Housley added. Funds for the purchase of the facility and cost of the air filtration system will be paid for out of the college’s reserve fund balance, Housley said.
State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) said he was impressed with the vision of the Fairfield Industrial Development Corporation in working with the college to make the career and technical center possible.
Cook said the new center in Fairfield would be a boon not only to young people but to those who want to return to school to continue their education, or get new training.
“We’re so grateful for the cooperation and foresight of the people of this county,” said Trustee Dr. James Price in making the motion to purchase the facility. “We appreciate what’s been done.”
“This is just the tip of the educational and beneficial ‘iceberg’ for this area,” added Trustee Buster Atkeisson. “This is just the beginning.”
“The greatest gift that we can give our communities is the gift of education,” added Trustee Phil Judson. “I applaud those behind this.”
Dr. Barbara Kavalier, college district president, said the partnership with the Fairfield Industrial Development Commission would continue to develop opportunities.
“They are going to be a great advisory council in identifying new programs for this community,” Kavalier said.