Dec 14, 2023

Construction starting soon on new Salina Tech building

Posted Dec 14, 2023 2:30 PM
Salina Tech 2018-logo-BlackAndRed-1024x196.jpg
Salina Tech 2018-logo-BlackAndRed-1024x196.jpg


Construction on the first new building on the Salina Area Technical College campus in 20 years is expected to begin soon, with fundraising efforts continuing after bids on the building were higher than expected.

The Kansas Board of Regents recently approved the college’s new Industrial Maintenance and Automation program, which will be housed in the new 15,000 square-foot building, and the college’s Board of Trustees has also approved the bid of $5.2 million from Harbin Construction for the building. Building completion is scheduled for December 2024.

Even though Harbin was the lowest bid, it was still roughly $1 million higher than expected, said Salina Tech President Greg Nichols.

“Opening the bids was kind of a surprise,” Nichols said. “But with inflation continuing to rise, the Board decided to move forward rather than try to scale back our plans.”

Nichols said community support remained strong in recent months, including a recent generous donation from the Pestinger Family, and the Salina Airport Authority’s donation of two lots totaling 3.27 acres to house the new building and future campus expansion.

“I think Salina Tech is great for Salina,” said Tom Pestinger. “Some of our best employees come from Salina Tech, and we want future students to have the best experience when they’re in college.”

 Pestinger's involvement with the college goes back more than 30 years. In that time, he’s served on the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning program’s advisory board, and the college’s Board of Trustees.

Salina Airport Authority Executive Director Tim Rogers said the growth is a great sign of growth for the college. 

“The Authority welcomes an opportunity to support the growth of the programs at Salina Area Technical College. Salina Tech’s growth is a key component to recruiting and training a skilled workforce for Saline County businesses,” Rogers said. 

Other organizations have supported the project in various ways, including Vortex Companies Videographer/Photographer Tanner Colvin spending numerous hours recording and editing a series of videos about the building project and the IMA program, featuring President Nichols, Exline, Inc. President Will Exline and Vortex Companies Welding Lead Luke Doll, who graduated from the college’s Welding Technology program in 2016. The videos can be found on Salina Tech’s YouTube channel: or on the college’s website at:

Brenda Gutierrez, Executive Director of the Salina Tech Foundation, said that given the higher-than-expected building bids, the fundraising goal to build the building and equip the program is now $6 million, about 80 percent of which has been raised or pledged.

“We’re having ongoing talks with several more potential donors,” Gutierrez said. “And of course smaller donations are welcome.”

Gutierrez said donations to the project still qualify for both matching by former Salinan Damon Button, who has pledged to match new donations up to a total of $400,000 in memory of his parents Robert and Aileen Button – and for a 60 percent tax credit from the State of Kansas.

“What that means is that for every dollar you donate, Salina Tech gets two dollars, and it could cost you as little as 40 cents, depending on your tax situation,” Gutierrez said.