Tulsa Technology Centerâ€™s Riverside facility, the cityâ€™s newest higher education technical campus, officially opened with fanfare Tuesday. Five universities combined resources to give Tulsa the $38 million technical facility. As many as 1,200 students will attend the Riverside campus every year.
Qualified graduates are prize hires for hundreds of local employers. Tech student Bobby Larson will help piece together the nervous system of our digital society. â€œThis kind of trained employee is needed absolutely everywhere,â€ he said. â€œIf you open the ceiling in your building, you'll see blue or orange wires running every which way."
Technical training on the Riverside campus offers programs from high school all the way through graduate programs in Tulsa's leading industries -- electronics, telecommunications and aviation. The aviation industry alone employs more than 30,000 people in Tulsa and generates $3 billion annually. Tech instructors teach students how to fly planes, how to fix them and even how to treat medical conditions that can come with the job.
Scott Carpenter, Mercury astronaut and aquanaut, toured the state-of-the-art chambers that simulate high altitude and low depth conditions. These facilities will present the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine with new opportunities as well.
"We'll be treating a wide variety of patients from leg ulcers, carbon monoxide poison, radiation burns, skin grafts that otherwise wouldn't heal without this kind of environment," said OSU spokesman Ray Sowers. Carpenter says in diving medicine, there are a lot of physiologic unknowns in hypobaric conditions. â€œOnce we learn more about them,â€ he said, â€œIt will have an impact on human physiology in general."
The people who helped build the new Riverside campus hope the payoffs extend beyond a well-trained workforce. More higher education opportunities make Tulsa even more attractive to growing companies. The Riverside campus is Tulsa Tech's first development on the southwest side. The school moved out of the downtown airpark on the north side of the city because improving that facility would have cost more than the property was worth.