Lamar State College Orange unveils new facility for electromechanical technology training

Published 12:30 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

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Dr. Tom Johnson delivered an essential message when speaking Wednesday afternoon on the campus of Lamar State College Orange.

“It’s nice that people can get an education right here in Orange, go to work right here in Orange, buy a house right here in Orange and their kids can go to school right here in Orange without having to move out,” he said. “I think that is the thing that I am most proud of.”

The LSCO president delivered those remarks during the celebration and ribbon cutting of the campus’ Electromechanical Technology Building, located at the corner of Green Avenue and 1st Street.

The site used to be the home of the Procell Brothers Performance Center and Machine & Parts Shop.

In its heyday, LSCO Communications Director Daniel McLemore said the facility was known internationally for building high quality racecar engines.

“They set the standard high for the property, and these facilities were used to developing champions,” McLemore said. “Lamar State College Orange is proud to be able to carry on that legacy.”

Two new buildings with more than 12,000 square feet sit on the footprint now and are used to train electromechanical technology students to become some of the best advanced manufacturing employees throughout the Golden Triangle, Southwest Louisiana and state of Texas, McLemore added.

Instruction includes hydraulics, pneumatics, machining, equipment installation and much more.

Johnson stressed the new buildings mean a lot because of the opportunities they promise.

“The data just came out, and our college is growing at an exponential rate,” he said. “Besides our quality education, we do skills, crafts and trades. When they came to me and said, this is what we want to do, I was all in.”

According to preliminary data from the Texas State University System, total headcount enrollment across the system increased three percent, from 87,360 last fall to 90,071 this year.

Enrollment growth this fall was particularly strong at TSUS’s four Southeast Texas institutions. Preliminary headcount enrollment increased 20 percent at Lamar State College Port Arthur, 19 percent at Lamar State College Orange, 10 percent at Lamar Institute of Technology and five percent at Lamar University.

“We’re excited to continue offering high-quality education in these high-demand industries,” Associate Dean of Technical Studies Dr. Keith Jones said. “These newly renovated buildings offer the space and tools necessary to train the next generation of industry leaders.”

Impact plans

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dr. Tom Johnson told Orange Newsmedia he believes in the redevelopment of Orange.

The best way to start is through education, he said, adding if the college is able to manifest that with its buildings and help the city, then LSCO is all in.

“I wanted a space where students could learn, called a makers space, so they could learn a skill, craft or trade with experienced teachers,” he explained. “We have been able to do that. You can tell it has concrete floors, roll up doors and we’re able to simulate a lot of the shops where they would be working in the future. If we don’t have them in an environment that they are going to be used to, we’re training them wrong.”

Johnson called the training buildings a direct result of industry partners telling educators what they needed in workers.

“We listened and we’re doing that,” he said. “Too many colleges have cookie cutter things that you have to fit into their program. Not Lamar Orange. You tell us what you need, and we will develop a training program for it.”