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Texas Senator Lois W. Kolkhorst was one of hundreds who toured the Brazos Center during TSTC's Open House. The Brazos Center is the newest building at the new TSTC campus in Fort Bend County.
By Lynda Lopez
 
Residents and community leaders of the Fort Bend County community toured the new Brazos Center today as part of an Open House for the new building on the Texas State Technical College campus.
 
The Brazos Center, a 57-thousand-square-foot building, first opened for classes in Fall 2017 and a dedication had been scheduled for last October, but was postponed due to Hurricane Harvey.
 
"We're late celebrating this new building but no less excited to be here and have new offerings for the students of this region," said Provost Randy Wooten. "Nature is bigger than we are but we bounced back with little negative impact to enrollment."
 
The Brazos Center houses four new programs: Robotics Technology, Electrical Power & Controls, Environmental Technology - Compliance specialization and Electrical Lineworker Technology. There are now a total of 10 programs being offered at the Fort Bend County campus.
 
"The programs were all chosen strictly to serve market demand," explained Associate Vice President of Student Learning Bryan Bowling. "We work closely with industry and have chosen high performing and high placement programs to meet industry demand and assure there's a job for every graduate."

The Brazos Center also provides space for various student support services, including recruiting, student accounting, veterans' programs, financial aid, admissions, bookstore and a learning resource center.

But it was the state-of-the-art equipment that most impressed one touring guest. Enrico R. Giannetti, president of Dorian Tool International, which specializes in the research and development of highly technical, innovative tooling, has already hired a graduate from the Precision Machining program and his own son recently started attending classes at TSTC.
 
"This is outstanding. The technology here is great. It's the future of technology and manufacturing in Texas. The region, the state, we're all going to benefit from having TSTC here," said Giannetti.
 
TSTC's Fort Bend campus has been built with the financial support from the city of Rosenberg, city of Richmond, city of Sugarland, Fort Bend County, Sprint Waste Services, the George Foundation and the Henderson-Wessendorff Foundation. The municipalities and foundations made more than $40 million in contributions to help TSTC expand its educational opportunities in the region.
 
This summer there are 300 students enrolled in classes and that number will jump to 500 in the fall. TSTC enrollment is on track with growth predictions and Provost Wooten is already planning ahead.
 
"We have exceeded expectations. We anticipate outgrowing our space and needing building number three in about three years," explained Wooten. "We're already meeting, talking about need and starting the groundwork for future growth."
 
Ultimately, the TSTC campus in Fort Bend County will boast six to eight buildings and be able to serve a projected enrollment of 5,000 students.
 
TSTC serves Texas through 10 campuses in Abilene, Breckenridge, Brownwood, Fort Bend County, Harlingen, Marshall, North Texas, Sweetwater, Waco and Williamson County. TSTC has graduated more than 100,000 students into the state workforce in its 50-year history.
 
For more information on TSTC in Fort Bend, visit tstc.edu.
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