US Congressmen on Hand to Celebrate SJC Maritime Center


Holly Galvan/San Jacinto Times

Elected officials and industry leaders were in attendance March 8 at a grand opening ceremony to officially open San Jacinto College’s newest campus.

United States congressmen and other elected officials were on hand to help San Jacinto College celebrate the grand opening of the new Maritime Technology and Training Center on March 8. The center, known as San Jac’s fourth campus, is lauded as a state-of-the-art waterfront facility boasting 45,000 square feet of space equipped to offer certificate and associate degree maritime training.

College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer led the grand opening ceremony with guest speeches from U.S. Congressmen Gene Green and Brian Babin, as well as State Senator Larry Taylor and Texas Representative Dennis Paul. After raising the American flag, the celebration culminated in the ringing of the bell and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the campus.

“We are really excited about this new facility,” Hellyer said. “The Maritime industry is almost an industry our youth do not think about. The jobs in the maritime industry can help them make six-figure salaries.”

Dr. Sarah Janes, Vice President of Continuing and Professional Development at San Jacinto College, said she and other College representatives visited several other maritime schools before planning the San Jac facility and breaking ground in the summer of 2014.

“We made the trips in the fall of 2013,” Janes said. “In the spring of 2014, we started meeting with the architects and industry partners to begin the designing.”

Janes said the new facility resulted from a collaborative effort between San Jac and industry professionals.

“As we listened to people in the maritime industry and the leadership at the Port of Houston, we soon learned that to provide a quality program, we have to have a specialized facility,” Janes said.

Furthermore, she added, the center will accommodate students at different stages of the educational process.

“Students in the Associate of Applied Science in Maritime Transportation will take their courses at the Maritime Technology and Training Center,” Jane Said. “Those mariners who need to retrain, train up, or start from the beginning without a degree can take U.S. Coast Guard-approved training at the Center.”

Meanwhile, Maritime Simulator Instructor Charles Mitchell said the new campus offers a host of advantages to incoming students. “The ship simulator and the waterfront property are the best features of the new Maritime Technology and Training Center,” Mitchell said.

The Maritime Technology and Training Center is located at 3700 Old State Highway 146 in La Porte. It includes 15 classrooms, along with engineering simulators to train maritime engineers for hydraulic, electric, pump control, motor control, heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. More than 40 maritime courses will be taught at the new campus. It also includes three room-sized replicas of ship control bridges that are part of a 3,748 square-foot simulation suite.