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Aerospace Training Center gets full funding from legislature

An artist
An artist's rendering of the Central Sound Aerospace Training Center.
— image credit: Courtesy image

The new Central Sound Aerospace Training Center set to be built at the Renton Airport recently received some additional funding from the state Legislature and will now be built to its full size.

When the legislature gathered in November to pass the 777X tax-break bill for Boeing, it also passed legislation providing an additional $5 million to the Aerospace training project, bringing the total amount to $12.5 million for the center.

“The goal here is to create a central training center,” Renton Communications Director Preeti Shridhar told the City Council Monday during a presentation.

The center, when completed, will house three floors of classrooms and training spaces designed to offer hands-on learning for the next generation of aerospace workers, all at a real-life setting.

“We’re hearing from Boeing and other companies that a lot of their workers are retiring and they’re in need of new workers,” said Shridhar.

The center is designed to bring together many of the local players in the aerospace industry, as well as educational facilities like Renton Technical College, to provide a place to train workers.

Originally intended as a relatively small $2.5 million project, once the parties involved came together to discuss the industry’s needs, they realized a bigger training center was needed.

The city requested an additional $10 million from the state for the project and originally received an additional $5 million from the legislature last session.

But the city and the other players involved continued to lobby the legislature for the additional amount and received the money as part of a Nov. 9 bill that also included additional funding for technical colleges and the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center in Edmonds.

Because they received the full amount requested, the new center will be 21,000-square-feet facility with multiple classrooms and three “high bays” that will be big enough to house airplane parts like wings or a fuselage.

The building will be able to handle 80 to 120 students per shift, or an estimated 1,500 per year.

Early renderings of the building show a three-story structure built into the hillside at the southeast corner of the airport. Much of the main level is glass with an angled roof designed to invoke the image of an airplane wing.

For their part, the city of Renton would provide the land for the building, valued at about $1.5 million, and would oversee construction. Once completed, the city would act as “landlords,” according to City Administrator Jay Covington, leaving the actual operation of the facility to others in the industry.

“We’re not going to be running the institute,” Shridhar added.

The money from the state is only for construction costs and will not provide for operation.

Though a timetable for construction has not yet been developed, Shridhar said the hope is for the building to open in the fall of 2015.

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