UACCB Buys Property for Workforce Training Hub

UACCB Buys Property for Workforce Training Hub
A rendering of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville planned Gateway Center, which would provide expanded workforce training programs. (UACCB)

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville said Tuesday that it has purchased a 100,000-SF former manufacturing facility to use as a space for expanded workforce training programs.

The college acquired the property at 2210 E. Main St. in Batesville for $500,000 from V-Tech Frac Sand LLC Inc. The UA System board of trustees approved the purchase in September. 

Per the deal put before trustees, UACCB would use $400,000 from its reserves, with donors providing the balance of the purchase price. It will be called the UACCB Gateway Center. 

"We are excited about the property and the opportunity it provides for not only the college, but more importantly our community," Chancellor Brian Shonk told Arkansas Business via email.

Initial investments to renovate the building will cost between $4 million to $6 million, the chancellor said, adding the timeline for that first phase will be about two to four years for completion.

"Construction costs, supply chain issues, and uncertainties in the economy will certainly play large factors in those numbers," Shonk said.

The college said Gateway Center will provide space for short-term and industry-specific training, along with more room for the college’s recently added commercial driving (CDL) program and compact and heavy equipment programs. Some of the land will be used to expand agriculture and community education programs surrounding food security and sustainabilty, Shonk said. 

"We have a growing manufacturing industry in our area and much of the training in that area requires space," Shonk said. "We are very limited on space on our main campus, and this new property and building provides us room for growth." 

UACCB already has a workforce training center on its campus, featuring college credit and high school programs for advanced manufacturing, welding, robotics and construction.

The college said the new property nearly doubles the footprint of the campus by adding 100,000 SF of covered space and 55 acres of land. Initial work to renovate the building includes covering a small corner of the building, repairing portions of the roof, and cleaning up the exterior. 

Fennell Purifoy Architects of Little Rock is working on the project.

UACCB reported fall 2022 enrollment of 1,021 students.