Platte City, MO — January 4, 2023 — Hunt Midwest will contribute up to $2 million to the Platte County R-III School District to support the construction of Northland Career Center’s (NCC) new, state-of-the-art $60 million Northland Workforce Development Center.
The pledge is the first private contribution to the new center since the State of Missouri appropriated $30 million in its FY 2023 budget to support the school district’s plans to build the new career center building and grow the Northland workforce in Clay and Platte counties. The school district kicked off a capital fundraising campaign in October and Hunt Midwest finalized its partnership before the end of the year.
“We are truly honored to receive a sizable contribution from Hunt Midwest toward our new Northland Workforce Development Center,” said Dr. Jay Harris, Superintendent of Schools for the Platte County R-3 School District. “Providing opportunities for students to be well prepared for their future is a strong commitment of all Northland school districts. We do this best through community partnerships and collective investments. Thank you to Hunt Midwest for believing in our vision to enhance opportunities for students and meet the workforce demands of our region. This donation is a great first step in building a brighter future for tomorrow across the Northland.”
The new Northland Workforce Development Center will help address the considerable shortage in qualified workers for a litany of trade and skilled positions across the region. It will supplant the current Northland Career Center, which draws almost 500 students from 16 high schools across Clay and Platte counties and offers a dozen programs designed to give students real-world training in skilled trades such as construction, heating and cooling, robotics, welding, health sciences, and culinary arts.
The current Northland Career Center, originally built in 1979, has far outgrown its Platte City campus and has turned away hundreds of qualified students over the past three years – now with more children on its programs’ waiting lists than the total number of students currently enrolled. The new facility will be centrally located to both Clay and Platte counties near 152 Highway and will be more than double the size of the current campus. It also will be equipped with more modern facilities where it can better connect with nearby industries to more closely simulate the types of work environments students will enter when they graduate from the programs.
Hunt Midwest has been a close industry partner of the various Northland school districts for decades and immediately recognized the strategic importance of expanding the Northland’s technical education programs.
In May, Hunt Midwest announced plans to develop KCI29 Logistics Park, a 3,300-acre megasite that will create up to 20 million square feet of industrial space with direct access to the KCI Air Cargo Hub and Interstates 29 and 435. The project has the potential to attract more than 9,000 jobs and almost $1.5 billion in capital investment, underscoring the Northland’s need to invest in further developing its skilled workforce as more industry moves to the area.
Hunt Midwest leaders approached the school district about contributing to the Northland Workforce Development Center as part of its overall investment in the KCI29 Logistics Park. Under the partnership, Hunt Midwest pledged to contribute 10 cents per square foot of building space at KCI29 Logistics Park to the new Northland Workforce Development Center as each industrial facility opens – up to $2 million in total as buildings are completed.
“In the Northland, everyone has always gone out of their way to make sure the school districts are supported, and we wanted to continue that legacy,” said Aaron Schmidt, Hunt Midwest Vice President of Development and Construction. “We already believed in the work of the Northland Career Center, and when we saw they received the $30 million in funding from the state for the new center, we talked with district leaders right away to figure out what it would take to leverage those dollars to make the new center a reality.”
Hunt Midwest also is partnering with the district to offer more internships to current and future Northland heating and air conditioning students at SubTropolis, the world’s largest underground business complex, where almost 500 HVAC units need constant maintenance. School district officials hope the new Northland Workforce Development Center will attract even more of those industry partnerships in the coming years.
“This very tight labor market has made it difficult for every firm to find new employees with the right skillsets, especially qualified HVAC technicians,” said Mike Bell, Hunt Midwest Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Development. “We need more skilled technicians to maintain over 500 HVAC units in SubTropolis, so we realized that in addition to our financial contribution to Platte County R-3 and the NCC, we could offer these students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in real-world conditions. It’s a win-win that ultimately benefits the entire labor market when these talented students graduate.”
A capital campaign to raise the remaining matching funds needed to build new Northland Workforce Development Center will continue throughout 2023. Preliminary designs for the new campus are underway with construction planned to be complete by the end of 2026.
For more information about the NCC capital campaign and new Northland Workforce Development Center, go to bit.ly/3YorIJ7.
About Hunt Midwest
Hunt Midwest is a Kansas City-based, privately held real estate development company with six decades of expertise in industrial, self-storage, residential, multifamily, and senior living communities, with more than $2 billion of developed projects in multiple geographic markets. Hunt Midwest leverages its reputation, resources, and relationships to create successful real estate solutions.
Hunt Midwest is one of the pillars of the Lamar Hunt Family’s holdings, which include interests in real estate, sports/entertainment, energy/natural resources, and private equity. Other marquee brands include the Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bulls, FC Dallas, Hunt Southwest, and Trinity Hunt. Learn more at HuntMidwest.com.
Northland Workforce Development Center Renderings: Rendering 1 | Rendering 2