South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) is expanding its automotive-technology-training facility – and it will get a new name, one that’s widely known around West Seattle. Here’s the official announcement, just received from the college:
In recognition of more than 30 years of support for South Seattle Community College, the college is honoring the Huling family, of West Seattle, in the naming of an expanded and remodeled automotive technology training facility.
The Seattle Community Colleges trustees will name the facility the Steve and Sharon Huling Automotive Center. The new center will ensure that students work with tools and equipment that closely match current industry standards.
“We deeply appreciate the Hulings for their generous, long-time support of the college,” said Jill Wakefield, chancellor of the Seattle Community Colleges and former South president. “Their on-going partnership with the college has resulted in nearly $2 million in equipment, funds, and other support, which has advanced and improved the training opportunities for our automotive students.”
The announcement continues with more details on the expansion, after the jump:
According to Jean Hernandez, South’s interim president, the remodeled automotive center will feature shop bays to accommodate 27 vehicles, compared to the current 18, and eight classrooms, five of which will be adjacent to shops. This equates to a 24% increase in space to 45,590 square feet, allowing the college to serve an additional 80 students. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
The Huling family’s generosity toward the college has included donating more than $200,000 worth of vehicles and equipment for automotive training, said Elizabeth Pluhta, executive director of Advancement and Foundation. Steve Huling also encouraged employees from his former auto dealerships to serve as short-term instructors at South, she noted, helping students learn about the real working world. A sponsor in the General Motors Marketing Internship program, he also provided student internships at his dealerships that often led to full-time employment.
Under Huling’s leadership, the Huling Bros. Auto Center was honored with the Better Business Bureau Customer Service award in 2001, a recognition that South was pleased to support, Pluhta said. The Auto Center also earned the national Automobile Education Award from Northwood University in 2003, and was selected as Washington state’s 2004 TIME Magazine Quality Dealer.
Steve Huling served on the board of directors of South’s foundation from 1991 to 1996, and is a current member of the college’s President’s Advisory Council. He and his brother Tom were named South’s Benefactor of the Year in 1987. The annual golf tournament they launched in partnership with Thrifty Car Rental raised nearly $500,000 for the college foundation until 2007, when they sold their automotive businesses.
Sharon Huling is also active in community support. She was capital campaign chair for West Seattle’s Holy Rosary Church in 2005-07, and has been a board member of the Southwest Historical Society and the Log House Museum. In the wider community she has held leadership roles with the Seattle Art Museum, Lakeside School and On The Boards.