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Blinn, A&M officials celebrate opening of RELLIS complex
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Blinn, A&M officials celebrate opening of RELLIS complex

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Blinn College District and Texas A&M University System officials gathered on the RELLIS Campus on Wednesday morning to celebrate the opening of the $15 million Agriculture and Workforce Education Complex.

The complex, officials said, is a collaborative effort of the Texas A&M University System, the Texas A&M department of agricultural leadership, education and communications, and Blinn College.

The 38,000 square-foot complex is the new home for Blinn College’s workforce training offering, which includes advanced manufacturing, welding, carpentry and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), as well as public and electrical trades.

Blinn Chancellor Mary Hensley said that Blinn and Texas A&M are working together in a variety of ways to offer “cost-effective, outstanding” workforce and educational offerings that, alone, each academic entity might not be able to offer in the same way.

“I think there is a benefit, always, to partnerships,” Hensley said. “This building and this partnership lends itself beautifully to the mission of Blinn College. Part of our mission is workforce training for the general population.” 

According to a press release, Blinn recently announced the launch of new associate of applied science degrees in carpentry, facilities maintenance, HVAC and water purification to be offered in the facility this fall. 

“Blinn looks forward to training the next generation of workforce leaders at this dynamic new facility,” Hensley said.

The complex is also now the home of the Texas A&M agricultural science program. Patrick J. Stover, vice chancellor for Texas A&M AgriLife, said the complex and partnership between Texas A&M and Blinn will help reach a wide variety of the population.

“This RELLIS Campus is a unique facility that is so important to the future workforce of Texas the way it’s designed — bringing Blinn College and A&M together — and bringing together the ability to train and retrain so people can come back for continuing education,” Stover said.

“This is directly related to education. If we are going to achieve all of the societal goals that we have now, especially with all of the disparities that we’ve seen through COVID and the issues we’ve seen from lack of access and supply chain issues — education, and the right education, is going to be key,” Stover said.

Following the Wednesday morning press conference, Jim Nelson, associate vice chancellor at the RELLIS Academic Alliance, took Hensley, Stover and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp on a tour of the facility. According to a press release, the facility includes one 16,000-square-foot building with demonstration and traditional classrooms, as well as a seminar room and a computer classroom, faculty offices and space for students to collaborate on projects.

The facility also features the 11,000-square-foot agricultural trades pavilion and the 11,000-square-foot construction trades pavilion, which provides open laboratory spaces for students to work on full-scale projects using equipment for their chosen field.

“Opening this world-class facility on the innovative RELLIS Campus will ensure our students have access to the practical hands-on education needed to succeed,” Sharp said Wednesday morning. “We look forward to seeing how this partnership benefits not only our students, but the local workforce.”

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