Grain elevator will be newest building on campus


Courtesy photo SCCC Public Relations

Manuel Bustillos, drafting and design technology instructor, works with students to survey the land set aside for the grain elevator project. After the survey is done, concrete will be poured. The modified grain elevator will be near the ag building.

Construction on a grain elevator began on the Seward County Community College campus last week. The addition is part of a new program where students may earn a Grain Elevator Certificate while learning first-hand in real-world situations. The program and partnership with Skyland Grain is unique to not only the state of Kansas but to the nation.

An Innovative Technology grant from the Kansas Board of Regents as well as support from the Ulysses-based Skyland Grain has helped to build the modified grain elevator on campus. The grant will purchase the grain bins and provide for electrical work. Skyland Grain will donate equipment and other materials.

This new addition on campus will be completed around May 15 but students have already started classes.

Deedee Flax, division chair of agriculture, business and personal services, said, “There is no need for the construction to be finished for students to enroll in the program”

The certificate program has classes involving agriculture, technology, electrical theory, pest control and welding. Nick Noterman, an agriculture instructor, added that the actual grain elevator will be used for the lab portions of the program. Students will also take a class in which they will have to deal with real life issues encountered in grain elevators.

The program allows for students to pursue either a certificate or associate’s degree in grain elevator operations. Within the program, students will learn about grain elevator operations and other skills that go along with the field like safety, crop science and even management skills.

“With this program, there is no such thing as one position to train for, there are multiple jobs and opportunities. Our goal is to help students find the one that fits them, whether that is in the accounting office or welding,” Noterman said. “There are a lot of different opportunities within the grain elevator program and I just want to emphasize that it’s more than just moving grain.”

Skyland Grain partnered with SCCC in creating the certificate program just before COVID hit back in 2020. They worked with the college instructors to come up with a curriculum of classes that uniquely fit the work.

Both Flax and Noterman anticipate students to be offered internships and jobs with the help of this program. They believe this new project will help others learn about a job industry that will “always be here.”

“It gives a great opportunity for people who don’t want to leave this area,” Noterman said, explaining that grain elevators are a staple in southwest Kansas.

People no longer need to leave the area to get qualified for this job. The SCCC program is unique in the sense that it is, according to Noterman, “the biggest and the first cross-curriculum for this type of job in Kansas, possibly the nation.”