The city of Union is now home to American Welding Academy (AWA).
The new school for beginning welders is located in the Union Corporate Center off Progress Parkway. The new facility is located at the intersection of Progress Parkway and Prairie Dell Road. Progress Parkway was extended onto the property for the facility.
AWA hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Feb. 14, and opened its doors to classes Monday, Feb. 17.
The technical school was founded by Adam Holt, an instructor, and Rob Knoll, owner.
The new 24,000-square foot school says it built a new top-flight facility with classrooms, training booths, a specialized welding area and offices. The academy hosts instructors, business professionals, trainers and staff.
“We are able to offer state-of-the-art training to not only the Franklin County area but also to the region east of Missouri,” Knoll said.
Knoll explained that this will also be a great resource for students from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma where access to high level welding training is limited.
AWA purchased the land from Union Development Corporation. According to the president of Union Development Corporation, Robert Borgmann, the corporation also assisted in the development of the site.
“This is a wonderful addition to Union and the Franklin County area,” Borgmann stated. “This school will provide service even for individuals who live out of state.”
Borgmann explained there is a further benefit of the school, the jobs it will provide that add to the city’s tax base.
The school offers 12- to 20-week training sessions. Among the sessions offered are master welder and pipe fitter, fabrication, shielded metal arc welding (stick), gas metal arc welding (mig or wire), flux core arc welding (dual or innershield), and gas tungsten arc welding (tig or heliarc).
According to Knoll, the next round of classes will begin in June of this year.
For more information on AWA, call 636-800-9353 or visit awaweld.com.
The city awarded a permit to the academy last summer.
The only condition placed on the permit was a requirement that the welding academy build a fence along the western property line to separate its site from Gregory Brunkhorst’s property.
Knoll, representing American Welding Academy, told the city the facility would be a training ground for aspiring welders.
Initially the plan is to have day classes, Knoll said, but if the facility is a success night classes could be added down the road. The plan is to have somewhere between 25 and 60 students.
Knoll said all operations will be done in the enclosed facility. He said all students will be welding in a designated welding booth.
The plan to open the school was supported by both the city’s plan board and aldermen. The only opposition came from a neighbor.
Brunkhorst, who said he lives on the adjacent property on Prairie Dell Road just outside the city limits, opposed plans for the development of the site.
As a compromise to address Brunkhorst’s complaints, aldermen agreed that a fence would be required as a buffer between the two properties.