Heard on the Street: First building permit filed for C–TECH project

A long-anticipated Rochester education project took its first step toward construction week.

The first building permit was filed last week for the long-anticipated $6.5 million Career and Technical Education Center, more commonly called C-TECH.

Knutson Construction,of Rochester, filed a "New Building" permit for the 19,117-square-foot center with the city on Friday, before the holiday weekend. The building was valued at an estimated $5 million in the permit.

The project is a collaboration between the City of Rochester, Rochester Community and Technical College, Winona State University Rochester and Rochester Public Schools. It originally was slated to be completed and fully operational by fall of 2015, but that was pushed back a year to fall of 2016.

However, the first phase of the project is expected open this fall inside RCTC's Heintz Center at 1926 College View Road East. That section will house programs focused on engineering, residential construction and horticulture, as well as a WSU STEM Village.


That will require renovating and expanding the building. Construction is expected to start in June for this phase. Since the new building is valued at $5 million, this phase will presumably cost $1.5 million.

The rest of the courses, such as manufacturing, health sciences and others, will be offered at the new C-TECH building when it opens in 2016. It will be connected to the Heintz Center via a 60-foot walkway.

Ground-breaking for the new building detailed in Friday's permit application is expected to happen in September.

Funding for the project came from the City of Rochester and its half-cent sales tax extension, approved by voters in 2012. Of the $139.5 million in sales tax revenue, $6.5 million is pegged for the CTECH project. — Jeff Kiger

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