COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – July 6, 2018 – Two long-standing community partners have come together to invest in the future of western Iowa. Building on its history of growing the local work-force, Iowa Western Community College recently entered into an agreement with local energy partner, Black Hills Energy, to sell up to 13 acres near the College to build a new natural gas training and operations facility.
When Iowa Western was deeded the land in 2007, their foundation board was dedicated to developing the site to best fit the needs of Council Bluffs and the college campus with a project that would benefit the entire region. To prepare the land for development the college turned to Southwest Iowa Foundation. The Foundation awarded IWCC a grant in the amount of $250,000 to assist with extending sewer and water to the property and help facilitate further development in the future.
The new $11 million dollar Black Hills Energy facility will contain space for the area’s natural gas operations, office personnel and meter shop employees. The facility will also include a regional training facility for natural gas technicians. Committed to safety, the training center will allow Black Hills Energy to move beyond compliance based training and offer more opportunities for hands on, skill based training. More than 300 field and office employees from Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska will attend various training sessions throughout the year.
City officials were pleased when they learned of the plans to begin development of the land east of the college. Council Bluffs Mayor, Matt Walsh said, “I am thrilled with Black Hills Energy’s recent announcement that, once again they are making a major investment in the future of Council Bluffs that will pay community dividends for years to come.”
The training facility and grounds will be strategically located next to the college, providing for a potential partnership between Black Hills energy and Iowa Western Community College, focused on advanced education and training.
“We are excited that a company of the stature and significance of Black Hills Energy is going to be our neighbor. This is going to be an outstanding expansion of the employment base for the Council Bluffs and a significant addition to the local economy,” states Dr. Dan Kinney, President of Iowa Western Community College. “We look forward to developing a closer relationship with Black Hills Energy and helping them to meet the training and educational needs for their current and future employees.”
Investing in Council Bluffs by constructing a new facility best suits the company’s strategic direction. “Black Hills Energy values the partnership with both the City of Council Bluffs and Iowa Western Community College,” says Tracy Peterson, vice president for Black Hills Energy Iowa operations. “This will allow us to enhance our workforce development capabilities and combine multiple operating facilities for efficiencies that will enable reliable customer service for the community well into the future”.
Black Hills Energy plans to break ground in the fall of 2018. Occupancy is anticipated for 2020.