Lakeland College officially cut the ribbon on the Energy Park Site for their Street Rod and Trucking programs Thursday.

The two new buildings will be a permanent base of operations for the trucking program, which has been bouncing from home to home since it’s beginning, and often left the trucks in the outdoor elements.

Dean of Trades and Technology Dave King says that the new centre will not only give trucking students what they need to further their education, but will also help meet demands in the trucking industry.

“The truck drivers that are out there are an aging group, and there’s a report now that we need 30,000 truck drivers in the next couple of years.”

In addition to the trucking courses, the centre will be a home for the college’s Street Rod Technologies(SRT) program, which focuses on completely rebuilding and customizing vehicles. The centre will have access to new equipment for metal brakes, English wheels, paint booth and a new sandblasting booth, among others.

Norm Stevens, one of the students in the SRT program, says he jumped at the chance to get into the program because it is one of his passions, and Lakeland is one of the few colleges in Canada to offer it.

“I’ve always been interested in it, and we’ll see. It may be my third career, or at the very least a sweet retirement gig.”

Stevens adds that students are extremely passionate about the program, and can go a plethora of different fields such as mechanics, restoration or welding jobs from it.

The Energy Park Site was funded by a $2.7 Million private donation from Barry Anderson, the largest in the college’s history.