DCCC to lease former Chaffin warehouse

Lance Ziesch
Dodge City Community College
At a special board of trustees meeting last week, Dodge City Community College approved the lease of the former Chaffin warehouse for a base cost of $7,666.67 per month. SUBMITTED PHOTO

At a special meeting Tuesday, June 30, the Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees approved several items, including a lease proposal for the former Chaffin Inc. warehouse, located east of Dodge City, and also the hiring of two new welding instructors.

The property, which is located at 100 Chaffin Road, is comprised of 131,132-square feet, and will be used to expand the college’s workforce development programs.

“In order for Dodge City Community College to continue to offer accessible and affordable higher education opportunities to the people of southwest Kansas, we need more space for our programs,” Clayton Tatro, DCCC Vice President of Workforce Development said in a news release. “In an effort to bring as many workforce development opportunities to Ford County and to the surrounding service area as possible, we just need more facility space.”

Two new workforce development programs, which were approved by the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) on June 18, will be housed at the Chaffin property, Tatro said.

They are Climate and Energy Control Technologies (HVAC) and Electrical Technology, and both will begin in 2021. The college’s existing CDL program also will be housed at Chaffin, beginning in August 2020.

The lease, which has a base cost of $7,666.67 per month, begins July 1, and has an initial term of three years. However, the lease has provisions for two possible three-year extensions, which would add up to total of nine years, Tatro said.

“Again, it all comes down to space,” Tatro said. “We currently do not have enough available space to house our new workforce development programs. With the Chaffin property, we will have an additional 20,000 square feet of shop space and an additional 3,000 square feet of classroom space.”

The warehouse facility, which was built in 1986, originally served as a headquarters and distribution center for Chaffin’s chain of Gibson’s Discount Centers. Gibson’s officially folded in 2003.

In other related workforce development news, the Board approved the hiring of two new welding instructors for fall 2020.

The two new instructors, Lester Green and Kimberley Cummings, bring a variety of industry and college teaching experience, Tatro said.

“They are both well-positioned to hit the ground running,” he said. “And by having both a male and a female instructor, I think our program will have even more appeal to potential students in our community.”

Tatro said he is excited about the future direction of the welding program.

“We are primed for growth and development,” he said. “Building upon the work of previous instructors, we anticipate strengthening partnerships with Lincoln Electric and the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) to create a regional training center.”