Mountainland Technical College is returning to its Provo roots.

The technical college is in the process of renovating the old 4th District Courthouse in downtown Provo to become its newest campus.

“As far as location, you can’t be in a better spot to better serve the city of Provo,” said Kirt Michaelis, vice president of finance at MTECH.

MTECH started in a now nonexistent Provo building before moving out to other locations. It currently has campuses in Orem, Spanish Fork and Lehi, and is constructing an additional building at Thanksgiving Point that will house trade and technology programs.

MTECH began renovation work on the former courthouse in May after taking possession of the building in March. While construction is expected to take three years as the school secures funding from the state, Michaelis said the hope is to begin classes for information technology and nurse and medical assistant programs in about a month.

Renovation work on the old courthouse includes removing the building’s security station at its front entrance, updating its technology and converting courtrooms into classrooms.

“Thankfully, courtrooms do lend themselves very easily to be remodeled into classrooms and instructional labs,” Michaelis said.

It also includes changing the perception of the building from a courthouse to a place of learning. The building will receive new signage, and construction work inside is focused on making the space feel well-lit and inviting.

“I think that is key in education, especially technical education,” Michaelis said. “I think sometimes we get the misperception everything we do is dark and dingy, when that isn’t the case.”

The renovation is estimated at about $9 million. The building was transferred to MTECH from the state, essentially being donated.

The building will increase MTECH’s enrollment by about 300 students this year, and by about 1,000 when it is completed. MTECH currently sees about 4,500 students a year, and saw a growth of 12% last year, according to Michaelis.

When complete, the building will also house programs for surgical technology, medical billing and coding, web development, digital media, digital marketing and analytics, among others.

Braley Dodson covers health and education for the Daily Herald.

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