Shorter College adds technology hub inside historic train depot

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A North Little Rock college will be adding some much-needed space, while also preserving history.

Shorter College plans to transform the former Rock Island railroad depot into a “technology hub.” A $1.2-million EDA grant will help put new life into the old building.

“It’s good to see this part of our city being used again, students coming in and everything is good with it,” North Little Rock Mayor, Terry Hartwick said.

Shorter College President, Dr. Jerome Green said the new technology hub will house several things under one roof— not just classrooms.

“We will do executive education, career training, providing the certificate programs for 21st-century jobs, and job opportunities. Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to assist businesses in upgrading their workforce, and also the opportunity to train people so that they’re eligible to get into the workforce,” Dr. Green explained.

It’ll also be a space for students to build skills within the computer technology program.

“We already have contracts with IBM, and with Apple. Those resources will be available for this program for career education, and executive education,”  Dr. Green said.

There are also plans to add a credit union to the building.

“Those people who are unbanked can begin to understand banking, saving, using finance, financial institutions, and also having a source of capital for budding entrepreneurs,” he added.

Jorge Ayala with the Economic Development Administration explained how it can also bring several new opportunities to the community.

“You’ll see other developments happen because of this facility. And I know the president was telling me that they don’t want to do some kind of connectivity between this facility and the campus at some point. And so that opened up a whole other part of the investment,” Ayala said.

“It’s something we’re very proud of,  to have a partnership with Shorter College,” Mayor Hartwick said.

The City of North Little Rock is leasing the building with Shorter College, and Dr. Green said he hopes to finish the renovation by the summer and open next fall.

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