The March 13th groundbreaking event for Osceola’s new ORBIT Center was marked by enthusiastic support from local businesses, government officials, community members, and Southwest Community College (SWCC) leadership. But the inclement weather that moved the ceremony indoors at SWCC’s Osceola Campus may have been a sign of challenges builders would face in the months that followed. With a spring full of much-needed rain the structural framing and construction for the Center was delayed. On Wednesday the 26th, the site saw two semi loads of structural steel delivered with five more loads expected in the following days.

“The rain put us back a week or so, but with the ground prepared and structural steel on its way, we should see the ORBIT Center taking shape as soon as the week of July 8th,” said Brian Crawford, Chief Operating Officer at Denovo Construction Solutions.

With the materials to raise the new technology and education center on site, the team at Denovo expect the construction to proceed quickly. Once the footings and foundation are poured, between the first week of July and late summer, the pre-engineered steel building will come together quicker than traditional stick-built buildings of the same size.

A significant advantage of Denovo’s pre-engineered steel buildings is the rapid construction time. Since the components are prefabricated off-site according to precise specifications, the on-site assembly process is streamlined and can be completed in a fraction of the time required for traditional buildings. This quick construction timeline can lead to earlier occupancy or use of the building.

“We’re expecting to have the building ready for occupancy as quickly as the Spring semester, if not sooner” said Colleen Ladd, Denovo Operations Manager and Project Lead for the ORBIT Center project.

With design specification putting the building space at approximately 10,000 square feet, bringing the construction of the Orbit Center in on schedule will be a big task, but a task Ladd said she’s confident can be accomplished.

technology center in osceola iowa


“Of the 10,000 square feet, approximately 1,000 will be for general office space and administrative areas,” said Ladd. “But the bulk of the building, more than 9,000 square feet will be dedicated learning lab and classroom space.”

That 9,000 square feet of space is what SWCC, regional schools, and industry leaders are anticipating will be of greatest benefit to south-central Iowa. Wayne Pantini, Vice President of Economic Development at SWCC and Shawn Oaks, Applied Engineering Technology Instructor at SWCC have already begun coordinating curriculum plans and earmarking courses to bring to the Osceola location from Creston’s campus.

“Initially, we’re working on non-credit short course training opportunities for local industries,” said Pantini. “Based on continuing conversations with local manufacturing leaders, we’ll start budgeting for new equipment and mapping out the acquisition of new technology to meet future education and training needs.”

Courses specific to PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) Training, SOLIDWORKS®, an advance computer aided design program and more will be offered beginning in January of 2025.

This center, developed through the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) is funded primarily by a $2 million federal grant from the Economic Development Administration. The CCDC ORBIT Center aims to bolster regional industry by offering advanced manufacturing and industrial education at multiple levels. By partnering with SWCC the CCDC can help guide the center’s expansion into educational opportunities locally, bringing programs previously available only in Creston and through other trade programs to Osceola.

“We’re excited to see the ORBIT Center’s construction go vertical,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “With Devovo’s experience in construction for academic and institutional faculties, as well as SWCCs dedication to curriculum management, we’re expecting a highly valuable educational facility for our entire community.”

The ORBIT Center represents a strategic effort by the Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) and SWCC to cultivate a skilled workforce capable of filling high-demand, well-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing. By aligning curriculum with industry needs through extensive consultation with local manufacturers, the center aims to enhance workforce readiness and economic vitality across south central Iowa.

With a focus on practical, hands-on training and the potential for future expansion into high school and continuing education programs, the ORBIT Center emerges as a pivotal initiative poised to transform Osceola into a hub of manufacturing excellence and educational opportunity in the region.

If you have questions or would like more information about the ORBIT Center, please contact Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director, at 115 E Washington Street, P.O. Box 426, Osceola, IA 50213, phone: 641-342-2944, email: [email protected]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email