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January 11, 2024

Shovels broke ground in Andalusia on Tuesday, January 11, at the Lurleen B. Wallace (LBW) Community College Center for Building Construction, a 3.5 million, 10,000-square-feet project that will facilitate the construction industry’s training needs in the state’s southeastern region.

Alabama Community College System (ACCS) leaders, local public officials, and industry partners broke ground on the development on the northwest side of LBW’s Andalusia campus, between the Jeff Bishop Student Center and the Seth Hammett Gymnasium.

The Center for Building Construction includes one classroom and two labs equipped with state-of-the-art industry equipment needed to train a future workforce with real-life scenarios. Students will train both for the Building Construction Associate of Applied Science Degree and for noncredit skills training for a multitude of areas within the construction industry.

“As we monitor labor market data and five-to-ten-year data projections for our area in growth, retirements, and labor participation rates, this investment into our communities is all the more important,” said Dr. Brock Kelley, President of LBW. “We are thankful to begin the process of building our next wave of construction professionals in a brand new facility.”

The Center for Building Construction was identified as a needed project after engaging local public officials, community members, workforce partners, labor market data, and population projections to figure how to best align services to more effectively serve communities, meet business and industry workforce needs, and increase overall student success.

Local business partner, Chief Operating Officer of Wright Bros., LLC, Billy Bergfeld said the center is directly in line with workforce needs in the construction industry.

“For years we’ve wanted one place where our workers could train across multiple disciplines within the industry, and I think we’ve finally gotten our wish through LBW’s current training programs and this future center,” Bergfeld said.

“We appreciate a college that listens to our needs and responds, and look forward to working with LBW in any way that we can.”

The Center for Building Construction is among various infrastructure projects, at multiple campus locations, that will move forward in the next few years through legislative appropriated funds for capital improvements across Alabama’s community and technical colleges.

Seay Seay & Litchfield (SS&L) has been selected as the architect on the project.

The Center for Building Construction is expected to open in fall 2024.