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Calhoun, Wallace awaiting decision
North Alabama schools only 2 in running for robotics center

By Bayne Hughes · 340-2432

Calhoun and Wallace State-Hanceville community colleges are the only candidates for a proposed robotics center, and a decision could come before the end of the year, the chancellor said Monday.

Bradley Byrne, chancellor of the two-year system, made the comments after speaking at Calhoun’s staff in-service in the Health-Sciences Center.

“It’s the governor’s (Bob Riley) idea, and he wants it yesterday,” Byrne said. “My hope is to have a decision by the end of the year, but we still have to do our homework and make several decisions.”

First phase of center

Byrne said a decision is made about the first phase of the center. It will cost between $12 million and $17 million, not including any land purchases. He also got a commitment from several robot manufacturers to donate the robots for the center, which he said would save the state “Tens of millions of dollars.”

Both colleges offered property or could possibly buy land for the center. Byrne hired a new facilities director, John Greer, for the Alabama College System. He said Greer would determine how much acreage the center would need and which location would be most suitable. They are looking at between 40 and 60 acres.

Byrne said a new part of the proposal not previously reported is the creation of a robotics consortium with the addition of a second robotics center at a four-year college.

The two-year school would provide training in robotics and maintenance.

The university would do research and development.

Byrne said they hoped to make the decision on the robotic center first and get that center under construction. Then he said they would then move forward with the four-year college center.

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