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Adam Blake/GazetteMembers of the Flint Hills Technical College Board of Trustees toured the college's recently-renovated Welding Building during Monday's meeting.

Members of the Flint Hills Technical College Board of Trustees spent the majority of Monday’s meeting away from the boardroom, touring FHTC’s recently-renovated Welding Building at 3701 W. Sixth Ave.

Opened for classes in Aug. 2015, the facility has since expanded to more than 14,000 square feet — up from the original 11,000.

“I’m confident in saying that FHTC has the best welding program in the state of Kansas,” FHTC Vice President of Advancement Mike Crouch said. “Nothing that I’ve seen at other colleges or universities around here comes close.”

Currently, 19 students are enrolled in welding technology classes. The one-year program emphasizes industrial welding knowledge and skills for entry-level welding processes in shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and flux-cored arc welding, with an emphasis in structural steel welding. Graduates seeking to continue their education are also able to transfer certificate courses to the Welding Technology AAS degree program.

Welding Instructor Harlan Anderson said he was thrilled with the growth of the program and expected to see a rise in enrollment thanks to the new space and various metal-working equipment.

“We originally had only 18 [welding] booths, but we had 19 students enroll this year so we made space for a new one,” Anderson said. “The program really has continued to grow. We may need more instructors soon.”

In other business, the board took a few minutes to review October’s financial highlights. During the month, FHTC took in just under $25,000 in revenue, increasing the college’s year-to-date revenue total to a little more than $2.9 million. The figure is up $100,000 from this time last year. Nancy Thompson, vice president of business services, said YTD expenses — which currently sit just below $1.8 million — were close to predicted levels.

“As we’ve been saying, our expenses are a little higher compared to last year,” Thompson said. “We’ve had some unexpected expenses with the water main break and with some HVAC repairs. We had several different air conditioning repairs that we had to buy compressors for and things like that. So, expenses are a little higher, but I think we’re still doing pretty well. We still have a strong cash flow, so we’ll continue to keep an eye on that as we do our spring enrollment.”

During the meeting, the board also:

Approved an Innovative Technology Grant Application for fiscal year 2019 in the amount of $27,906.

Approved the 2019 - 20 FHTC academic calendar.

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