PASADENA, Texas – With the cut of a ribbon and ring of a bell, San Jacinto College marked the grand opening of the new Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus on March 8, 2016.
The Center is located next to a turning basin along the Port of Houston at 3700 Old Highway 146 in La Porte, Texas – the ideal location for students training to enter the maritime industry, and for current mariners upgrading their U.S. Coast Guard certifications.
“This is what we have envisioned for many years,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. “The Maritime Technology and Training Center on our new Maritime Campus is our response to the region’s growing needs surrounding the Port of Houston and the industries impacted by its activity each day. It has been many years in the making, but it is finally here, and we are excited to begin training the next generation of maritime workers right here along the Gulf Coast.”
The grand opening featured remarks from The Honorable Gene Green, U.S. Representative for Texas’ 29th Congressional District; The Honorable Brian Babin, U.S. Representative for Texas’ 36th Congressional District; The Honorable Larry Taylor, State Senator, Texas Senate District 11; and The Honorable Dennis Paul, State Representative, Texas House District 129. Mr. Jay Guerrero, Regional Director for Southeast Texas, representing The Honorable John Cornyn, U.S. Senator, presented a congratulatory certificate to the College.
In addition, a flag raising ceremony was held, with a U.S. flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol on the first day of classes held at the Center. The flag was donated by Congressman Babin. The event culminated with a christening ceremony, ribbon cutting, and the ringing of the bell, opening the doors to the Center for tours.
Texas ranks third in the nation, with Houston ranking second, for all domestic maritime industry jobs, according to a Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Study released by the American Maritime Partnership. However, more than half of the industry’s workforce is reaching retirement age. This is why San Jacinto College began offering its maritime training in 2010, which led to the creation of the Maritime Technology and Training Center.
The Center sits 14 feet above ground and includes 45,000 square-feet of space on each of the upper and lower levels; a 3,748 square-foot suite for three full mission ship bridge simulators, donated by the Houston Pilots; 15 classrooms; an administrative suite; multipurpose room, dining area, and engineering simulators; aquatic training facility; and stations for Global Maritime Distress and Safety System training, automatic radar plotting aid training, radar training, and liquid cargo handling training. A separate industry dock for crew changes will be built in the near future in partnership with G&H Towing. The Maritime Technology and Training Center was built with funds from the 2008 bond referendum, which voters in the district overwhelmingly approved by 71 percent. The land was purchased from the Port of Houston Authority. The official ground breaking ceremony took place in December 2014.