Robotics center may call Decatur home

Robotics center may call Decatur home

Alabama's new two-year college system chancellor, Bradley Byrne, visited Calhoun Community College today.

He got a big push for a new robotics center and learned more about moving the performing arts center to downtown Decatur.

Both of these projects would be a big boost for the Valley and politicians and college officials were pulling out the stops to make sure he knows just how much these projects mean to the people of this area.

State and local leaders are getting a glimpse of a robotics class.

It's part of a presentation by Calhoun to land a proposed robotics center.

They are competing with Wallace of Hanceville.

"But Wallace College at Hanceville's got a long way to go to meet the proposal we heard this morning," says Byrne.

Although Calhoun is the largest community college in the state, it's also the least funded.

"Based on full time equivalency hours, Calhoun is the least funded compared to the average community college in the state of Alabama," says Byrne.

Byrne says he will propose a change in the funding formula at the state level.

It's not just the robotics endeavor. An area of Second Avenue has also been the focus of a major move for the fine arts department.

It's a move that would not only benefit the college, but also downtown Decatur.

When asked about this project, Byrne wasn't overly supportive.

"I am focused, the system has got to be focused on work force development and training needs."

Local leaders remain optimistic.

"I am truly excited about both projects. Right now the robotics center should be in north Alabama, and we believe we have the community right here that has the resources and support and the need most of all," says Marilyn Beck.

One of the locations which could be considered for the new robotics center would be the Lurleen B. Wallace Center, which the state already owns.