A. Lee Graham
Tarrant County College has announced plans to purchase Bell Helicopter Inc.’s military programs center at Fort Worth Alliance Airport.
Acquiring the 161,000-square-foot facility will allow the college district to expand its aircraft maintenance programs already offered at its Northwest Campus. The district plans to occupy the facility in June 2014.
As an extension of TCC’s Northwest Campus, the new facility will provide the district space to offer several new programs including composite technology, logistics technology, aviation welding technology, transportation technology and a pilot training program.
About 2,500 students are now enrolled in TCC’s aircraft mechanic-technician (AERM), aviation and airway management and operations (AVNC) and airline professional pilot (AIRP) programs, with projected program growth of 15 percent per year. When the agreement, brokered by Jones Lang LaSalle, has been finalized, the district will pay $16 million for the property.
“To ensure that we are delivering the best-trained and most job-ready students to our local aerospace and aviation industries, collaboration with local aviation and aerospace companies will continue to be critical for our students’ success,” said TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley, commenting in a news release.
Hadley pointed to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Dallas Love Field, as well as nine other regional or municipal airports in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as representing a source of employment for successfully trained workers
“Our agreement to purchase the military programs facility from Bell Helicopter means that we can expand our program and, more importantly, we can be sure our students are receiving the advanced training they need to hit the ground running after graduation,” Hadley said.
A Bell representative concurred.
“We’re proud to support TCC’s expansion efforts through the sale of our facility at Alliance to the benefit of our industry,” said John L. Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc.
“We are continuing to explore opportunities with TCC to offer advanced technical training for desired skill sets essential to our manufacturing and maintenance processes,” Garrison said.
The sale of the military programs center follows Bell Helicopter’s plan to reduce its local footprint by consolidating outlying facilities to its revitalized main campus in northeast Fort Worth. Bell plans to lease the property back from TCC through March 2014 when its new global headquarters building is scheduled for completion.