Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s new Advanced Technology building in Pikeville was dedicated Thursday and officially named in honor of Congressman Hal Rogers.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building, Rogers, who has advocated for and championed the expansion and advancement of broadband technology across the region, told those in attendance that he was “honored” and “humbled” to have his name on such a facility as the new ATC.
“You could not have put my name on anything that I would be more proud of than this school and what it stands for,” Rogers said.
The Hal Rogers Advanced Technology Center building was opened earlier this year and houses equipment to help develop skills in several areas, including fiber optics and electricity. Rogers toured the facility after cutting the ceremonial ribbon and visited with students, including Johnathon Hall, of Mud Creek in Floyd County. Hall was working with fiber optic equipment and gave a demonstration on fiber optic cable repair and splicing for Rogers and others.
Prior to cutting the ribbon, Rogers told the crowd of dozens of people in attendance for the dedication that the new Area Technology Center will provide the tools and resources for
students such as Hall in order for them to succeed in a “new age in which we find ourselves today.”
“You’ll be ahead of the curve in the Big Sandy region thanks to this technology center where our students and workforce will be already learning how to install, repair and test lines which will be in major demand with more than 3,000 miles of cable stretching across the entire commonwealth,” Rogers said. “Kentucky Wired will open the door to advancements in tele-health, business operations, manufacturing, even the new age of technology-based agriculture.”
Big Sandy Community and Technical College President Dr. Sherry Zilka, who also spoke at the ceremony said the construction of the new ATC was possible thanks to the cooperation of numerous agencies, including Big Sandy and the City of Pikeville, among others.
“It wouldn’t have happened if not for all the cooperation in the region,” Zilka said.
Dr. Jay Box, the president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, under which Big Sandy Community and Technical College operates, also spoke and said the new associate’s degree program in broadband and technology will be housed at the Hal Rogers Advanced Technology Center. Box said the program will be the first of its kind in Kentucky and only the third in the U.S.
Rogers said program such as that will help move Kentucky forward.
“Broadband is not the silver bullet to cure all of our woes, but it will certainly catapult us from last in the nation to the front of the pack in the digital race for connectivity,” he said.