HCC breaks ground for future of North Forest Community

Apr 13, 2016

“Finally, we are getting what we deserve. Finally, we are getting what we voted for,” said a thrilled Ernestine Jones, North Forest resident and Houston Community College (HCC) student, who has been looking forward to the day HCC would break ground on a new facility at the North Forest campus.

That day has arrived.

“To have HCC come into our community means hope for a better future,” said Linda Arceneaux, Blue Ribbon Committee member. “For so long our community has been neglected and overlooked. Now,we have a chance to shine.”

Arceneaux and Jones were among the nearly 200 people, including The Honorable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), fellow elected officials, community leaders, residents and current and future students, who joined HCC Trustees and administrators for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Automotive Technology Center and Workforce Building.

“We are building character and opening doors for a surging pathway for our students and families in the North Forest community,” said Congresswoman Jackson Lee.

The U.S. Representative led that surging pathway which involves constructing an additional 20,691 square-foot academic building and a new 35,000 square foot Automotive Technology Building. An existing building at the campus will also be renovated to provide an additional 25,615 square foot workforce facility with dedicated labs for welding, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing trades. The campus will be the home of the HCC Automotive Technology Center of Excellence.

At the age of 16, HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E., took apart the engine of a 1964 Chevy Malibu. That fueled his passion for learning about mechanics and engineering.

“We need to provide our students the ability to be able to tinker and learn how things work,” said Dr. Maldonado. “Transportation drives many elements in the economy and it drives our country. Here at this location, we are going to have the nexus of the world’s best automotive learning institution.”

That means developing more partnerships with global companies that do business in America. HCC was honored to have Consul-General of Japan, Tetsuro Amano share remarks about future possibilities.

Consul-General Amano mentioned Japanese companies are growing in Texas and said, “I hope this new automotive technology center will succeed in providing more excellent career program offerings.”

Adrienne Trimble, general manager, Diversity and Inclusion at Toyota Motor North America, spoke to the crowd about the importance of training and attracting new talent to the assembly lines and dealerships.

“This industry today has created a great demand for workers with a variety of skill sets,” said Trimble. “We are thrilled that HCC will be revamping its automotive training program and help contribute the much needed talent.”

Daniel Ybarra is a Certified Lube Technician who is currently pursuing a GED at the North Forest campus. He plans to continue his education at HCC.

“This new facility means a lot to me. I would love to learn more about pipefitting and welding,” added Ybarra.

“It takes a village to create these kinds of opportunities for a community,” said Adriana Tamez, Ed.D., chair, HCC Board of Trustees. “We owe it to the future of our communities to collaborate and to understand that they deserve pathways and options.”

The current HCC North Forest campus on East Little York Road was previously the North Forest Independent School District (NFISD) administration building. Former NFISD Board Members, among them, Maxine Seals, played an integral role in getting this project going.

“The district wanted a community college and we wanted HCC within this community,” said Seals.“Today is the beginning. We are ready to get started.”

Northeast College President Margaret Ford-Fisher, Ed.D., was also there from the beginning and said, “This is going to be a renaissance in North Forest. We can all move forward by recognizing that we are playing a role in transforming lives.”

To learn more about the North Forest campus project and other projects in the HCC $425M Groundbreaker Bond Program, visit hccs.edu/bond.

North Forest Ground Breaking

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