Construction projects ongoing at Howard College

One construction project at Howard College is nearing completion, while preparations are under way for another.People can be forgiven if they believe the college has become a permanent construction zone, what with all the work that's been ongoing the past few years. And that impression will continue, at least for the next few months.The latest building project at Howard, construction of the agricultural education complex, passed another milestone when crews erected the outer shell of the show barn/classroom building and began work on the interior. Another portion of the complex, an open-air pavilion, was completed earlier this year.When work is completed on the complex sometime in December, it will give the college one of the top ag education facilities in this part of the state, College President Dr. Cheryl Sparks said.“This complex is going to enable our agriculture students and instructors to have facilities they've never had before,” Sparks said. “All of our ag-related activities will be under one roof.”Construction of the complex was funded by gifts totaling $2.1 million from the G.C. Broughton Foundation.Another building project is in the works, but for a change, this won't effect anyone at the Birdwell Lane campus.Preliminary plans have been finalized for construction of two buildings at Howard's San Angelo campus. Sparks said one of the buildings will house classrooms, while the other will include a library and other student services.Enrollment at San Angelo has out-paced that at other HC campuses, necessitating the need for the construction — 2,630 students are currently enrolled in courses there, Sparks said.The buildings will be constructed adjacent to Howard's current home at the West Texas Training Center in northwest San Angelo.“We're created a presence in San Angelo. This will create a place,” Sparks said. “This will enable us to have facilities that will be much more conducive to student learning.”College officials hope to have a construction manager for the project named within the next 60 days, with the start of construction expected for sometime in early 2013.Completion is expected in 2014.