Greensboro, NC - Its official, construction on Guilford Technical Community College new GTCC Aviation building is underway.
Officials from GTCC, Honda Aircraft Company and county leaders were on for a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday. The new facility (GTCC Aviation Center III) will be located directly across the street from GTCC Aviation Center II, 819 Radar Road in Greensboro.
According to a news release, the new 41,000-square-foot facility will accommodate the growing enrollment for the aviation program and allow for additional programs.
The facility will be called "GTCC Aviation III." The $10 million facility was funded by state funds and county bonds.
Aviation III will house GTCC's Aviation Management and Career Pilot programs and additional classrooms for customized industry training. Aviation III also will be the first building and land that GTCC owns at the Piedmont Triad International Airport.
"I think it's a benchmark," Dr. Richard Pagan said. "We are heading into that direction of becoming the aviation mecca of North Carolina. I think we're well on our way with that," said Dr. Richard Pagan, GTCC's Transportation Division Chair.
Aviation III is expected to open in Spring 2014, with classes beginning by Aug. 2014.
GTCC's aviation expansion will also fulfill the demand for skilled and trained workers in the growing aviation industry worldwide and locally, particularly in maintenance and manufacturing, Pagan said.
GTCC offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree in four areas of study: Aviation Electronics (Avionics) Technology, Aviation Management, Career Pilot Technology and Aviation Systems Technology. It also offers certificates in five areas of study under the Aviation Management/Career Pilot Technology and Aviation Systems Technology programs.
An articulation agreement between GTCC and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University -- the world's oldest, largest, and most prestigious university specializing in aviation and aerospace -- allows GTCC graduates from the Maintenance, Aviation Management and Career Pilot programs to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics at GTCC's Aviation Center.
Since Fall 2006, enrollment in GTCC's aviation programs has increased from 150 students to 337 students in Fall 2012.
Students also exhibited high pass rates for licensure and certification exams in the following programs from 2010-2011:
• Aviation - General: 100% (31 students)
• Aviation - Air Frame: 100% (29 students)
• Aviation - Power Plant: 95% (21 students)
"We project that enrollments will continue to grow based on industry needs both locally and nationally," said Audrey Floyd, Department Chair of Aviation Management and Career Pilot Technology. "
With the Pilot and Management classes moving to AV3, this frees up space at the Aviation Center and AV2 for additional maintenance classes. It also allows room for Aircraft Dispatcher students and hopefully Air Traffic Control Students as well. We hope our enrollments could increase up to 60 to 75 percent over the next few years."
Local flight schools and aviation businesses including TIMCO, Honda Aircraft Company, Landmark Aviation and Atlantic Aero, Inc. have hired GTCC graduates. Regionally and nationally students also have been hired by GoJet Airlines, American Eagle, Comair, US Airways, GE, U.S. Customs, US Forest Service, various Fixed Base Operators and flight schools.
More than four decades ago, former GTCC President, Luther Medlin, purchased the first airplane to jump start the college's aviation program. A two-year Aviation Management Technology program began in Fall 1969.
By Nov. 1970, the State Board of Education approved a two-year program in Avionics and a one-year program in Air Frame and Power Plant Mechanics.
The GTCC Aviation Center opened in March 1991 at the southwest corner of the Piedmont Triad International Airport where students could pursue an Associate in Applied Science in Career Pilot/Management or Aircraft Maintenance Technology. By Aug. 1992, 51 students graduated with associate degrees.
Aviation facilities and its programs continued to expand in 2009 with the opening of the Aviation II building. And now, the growth of the Aviation Campus will continue with Aviation III.