WATERTOWN – An $8 million gift from First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard will help construct two classroom buildings and an archway at Lake Area Technical College in Watertown. The announcement was made Friday at the school’s Governor’s Luncheon, a fundraiser for scholarships and campus improvements, featuring South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
First PREMIER Bank President Dave Rozenboom, who made the announcement, said the gift is part of PREMIER’s ongoing commitment to technical education.
“South Dakota has a growing economy and a strong demand for skilled workers,” Rozenboom said. “It is essential that we invest in people and invest in education to ensure our workforce capacity continues to grow. PREMIER believes in technical education and we are very proud to partner with Lake Area Technical College and the State of South Dakota to ensure students have an opportunity to live and work in our great state.”
Lake Area Technical College President Mike Cartney added, “PREMIER is a great friend of Lake Area Tech and this community. Their gift will be directed to the Foundation’s I’m IN Capital Campaign and will be used in the construction of the Lake Area Tech Archway project.” The Archway project will tie the campus together via a walkway connecting a new Advanced Manufacturing building and a new building that will house the Business, Financial Services and General Education.
In addition to the PREMIER gift, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced an additional one-time funding of $7.5 million to assist with the Archway project. The gifts, totaling $15.5 million, will allow Lake Area Tech to move forward in late summer with the construction of the Archway project, The 50,000 square foot building complex will allow space to relocate programs, accommodate growth, and add capacity for 250 additional students. President Cartney continues, “Because of these significant gifts, this facility will be built with no additional financial burden placed on our students. These gifts will enable us to change lives and launch careers and provide a pathway of success for our graduates that will enrich the state of South Dakota.”
The Lake Area Technical College Foundation is currently leading a $40 Million Capital Campaign to build much-needed classroom and lab space on its campus. Today, Lake Area Tech has the student population that was projected for 2043 in facilities built to hold far fewer students. Lake Area Tech must expand its capacity to meet the workforce demands without increasing the burden of that expansion on the students. The I’m IN Capital Campaign is answering that call and is well on its way to providing the much-needed funding to launch the building projects. The Archway project is phase four of six in the overall campus build plan. Completed to date are The Lab and the Prairie Lakes Healthcare Center of Learning. Construction has begun on the Diesel Technology addition and building will begin late summer on the Archway. The final phases, Custom Paint & Fabrication and Aviation, are in the planning stages.
About Lake Area Technical College: Lake Area Technical College is a public two-year college located in Watertown, SD. The college was selected in 2017 as the #1 Two-Year College in the Nation by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence. The 40-acre campus is home to approximately 2600 full and part-time students enrolled in 31 different programs of study both on-campus and online. The college has an 84% retention rate and 99% placement rate for graduates. Lake Area Tech is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Learn more at www.lakeareatech.edu