The chain link fences are gone. The unpacking is nearly completed. Two summer classes are already under way with more to come. Construction of Allan Hancock College’s new Industrial Technology Complex on the Santa Maria campus is on track to open when fall classes begin the week of Aug. 18.

“We are excited to be moving into our new facilities, which offer state-of-the-art learning environments for our students,” said Eric Mason, department chair.

The industrial technology department features nine programs, including architecture, auto body technology, automotive technology, welding technology, machining and manufacturing technology, electronics/computer electronics, engineering technology, space operations and apprentice training.

The $17.6 million complex features three buildings and more than 35,000 square feet of lab space.

“The new buildings will offer our department a safe, new area to prepare our students for high-wage, high-skill jobs that are in demand for our industry partners on the Central Coast and throughout the state,” Mason said.

Two summer classes, one in architecture and another in machining, started in the new complex this month. Two welding technology classes, WLDT 309 (Gas Metallic Arc welding) and WLDT 335 (Flux Core Arc Welding), will open in the new welding labs on July 21. Both are three-week, one unit classes that run through Aug. 7. The new welding lab is more than twice as large as the old work space.

“The new lab allows the program to keep up with advancing technology,” welding instructor Gabriel Marquez said. “The facilities enable the college to continue providing the welding industry with workers who are trained on the latest equipment with the latest techniques.”

Space is still available in WLDT 335, which meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 9:15 p.m., as well as Thursdays and Thursday from 6 to 8:15 p.m. The course focuses on the flux core arc welding process, which Marquez says is growing in popularity.

“The process is fairly inexpensive and more efficient,” Marquez said. “It allows the operator to produce high quality welds quickly.”

The department waived a prerequisite for the course, WLDT 307, to open the registration process to everyone. Students who are interested may sign up for WLDT 335 in person at the Admissions and Records Office on the Santa Maria campus.

The entire complex is expected to be open when fall classes begin the week of Aug. 18. The department will offer dozens of classes, including eight welding, seven auto body, six machine technology, five architecture and 10 automotive technology courses in the fall.

For a complete, up-to-the-minute list of courses and class details needed to register, students should access the online Class Search at, which provides real-time information and allows students to search 24/7 for the classes they need. Search options include term, subject, time of day, location, credits and more. To access Class Search, click the link in the upper right corner of the home page.

— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs coordinator for Allan Hancock College.