LEWISTON, Idaho – The Idaho State Board of Education approved Lewis-Clark State College’s request to name its future Career & Technical Education (CTE) facility in the Lewiston Orchards as the Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center, it was announced Thursday.
The building is named after Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) and its founder Edmund O. Schweitzer, III, and his wife Beatriz. In July, SEL donated $2 million to fund the new center, while the Schweitzers donated another $1 million. The two contributions provide nearly a third of the $10 million in matching funds the State of Idaho required when the $20 million project was approved by the Legislature in 2017.
“Beatriz and I, along with SEL, are so honored to have the Schweitzer name on LCSC's new Career & Technical Education center,” said Dr. Schweitzer, SEL president and chief technology officer. “We are confident that our partnership with LCSC will lead to more young people in our region getting the technical training necessary to build fulfilling careers.”
Any naming of facilities for public higher education institutions in Idaho must be approved by the state board, which it did at its meeting in Boise on Thursday.
“Lewis-Clark State College is very excited that its partnership with and the generosity of SEL and Ed and Beatriz Schweitzer will forever be highlighted by this naming,” said LCSC President Cynthia Pemberton. “The important role that LCSC has to play in this region and throughout Idaho, is underscored by this partnership and investment in education. We remain ever grateful to the Schweitzers and SEL, and look forward to continuing to work closely with them and other industry partners to the benefit of our students, our communities, the region, and beyond.”
The Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center will be a regional CTE center, serving the needs of students from LCSC, neighboring Lewiston High School, and others throughout the region. The 75,000 square-foot facility will house most of LCSC’s Technical & Industrial Division programs including auto mechanics technology, CNC machining technology, information technology, engineering technology, industrial electronics technology, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC-R) technology.
Construction on the project is scheduled to start this spring and the Schweitzer Career & Technical Education Center is scheduled to open in time for the fall 2020 semester.
As part of the $3 million donation, LCSC and SEL will collaborate in several ways, including curriculum concept development for electrical technician training, helping to identify and support hiring qualified instructors for the program, and promoting the CTE center and its programs throughout the region.
SEL designs, manufactures, and supports products and services ranging from generator and transmission protection to distribution automation and control systems. Founded in 1982, the company serves a variety of industries, including utilities, pulp and paper, transportation, water, wastewater, education, healthcare, government, and oil, gas, and petrochemical operations. SEL is 100 percent employee owned and is headquartered in Pullman, Wash., with offices in 55 U.S. locations, including Lewiston, and 52 international locations.
The $3 million gift is the largest cash donation the college has ever received, according to LCSC Foundation Executive Director Erika Allen.