Supervisors hear presentation on new FVTC Regional Center
Fox Valley Technical Col-lege Vice President of Student and Community Development Patti Jorgensen along with Wautoma Area School District Administrator Jeff Kasuboski spoke to the Waushara County Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting on Nov. 8 about the college’s plans to build a new $3.68 million FVTC Regional Center in Wautoma beginning in April.
The presentation high-lighted the college’s history, mission and future plans for the area. It was also an effort to educate the board on the importance of building a facility to better service current and future high school students as well as the manufacturers in the area.
“We believe the type of training we can offer is also a catalyst for communities that want to invest in the economic growth,” Jorgensen said.
FVTC’s service area is defined as five full counties, including Waushara County, and very small parts of four more, with Waushara County at the very southwestern part of the service district, Jorgensen stated.
Following the Focus 2025 strategic planning initiative put on by Wautoma Area School District two years ago, the district was able to get community input, and one of the biggest things to come out of that meeting was to create more opportunities for the students, especially post-high school opportunities, stated Kasuboski.
The location of Wautoma bumps up against three other technical education districts, with Mid-State to the west, Madison to the south and Moraine Park to the southeast. Currently, there are 13 Kindergarten-12th grade school districts within a 30-mile radius of Wautoma, according to Jorgensen.
“Normally we don’t cross over into other technical college districts, in this particular case, if you draw a circle around Wautoma and capture the 13 school districts, none are being well served by those districts,” she said.
The Wautoma Regional Center’s Welding Academy continues to be a highlight to the area. The Academy will be moved to the new building following construction as well as the Fox Valley Workforce Development Center.
Throughout this entire process, the school district along with FVTC have been speaking to local manufacturing employers in the area, such as Mayville Engineering Company and Brakebush, because they are having a hard time finding potential employees in Waushara County.
“Brakebush is on the fast track to grow and part of what we can bring to the table, we can get into the schools,” Jorgensen said. “We also work closely with MEC and asked the question if we put a building in Wautoma would you put expansion dollars into your Wautoma location; they said, absolutely, yes. We have to produce the people, but they are definitely interested in expanding here.”
The decision to build the new FVTC in Wautoma came after Specialty Enterprises took over the building the Welding Academy is located in on Pickle Row. Currently, the building is being leased but the time is limited, according to Jorgensen.
While looking at other locations for a building, Kasuboski offered the land adjacent to the high school where the yellow house that is currently the district office is located.
FVTC had conversations with all of the 13 Kindergarten through 12th grade district superintendents within 30 miles of Wautoma and asked three questions; do you have students that would want this type of training and are you getting this type of training now; and would you be willing to send your students from your school to receive this training.
“They were desperate for opportunities and they are absolutely willing to send kids to Wautoma to get this type of training,” Jorgensen said.