Technical trade students at Utah Valley State College are heading west.

Construction workers are now putting the finishing touches on the $6-million Mountainland Applied Technology Center on the school's west campus, the first building to be completed on the 25-acre parcel on the west side of I-15 adjacent to the Orem campus.J. Lynn Brough, director of planning and facilities, said the final safety code inspection is scheduled for this week. Students could be in the building by fall if the structure is deemed safe by regulators.

"We can start using the building if we can get occupancy, " Brough said. "That's what we're looking for with the inspection."

Construction on the 52,000-square-foot facility started in September. Contractors and school officials hoped for a completion in early spring.

Programs through the center are some of UVSC's remaining ties to the school's original mission: vocational and applied training for blue-collar jobs with substantial salaries.

Utah's job market still calls for workers trained in technology, trades and industry. Some projections from state employment officials indicate up to 25 percent of the workforce in 2001 will need a bachelor's degree to qualify for a job.

Classes at the center focus on high-demand jobs, as well as specialized training for high school students and adults seeking supplemental education. A job service helps student find employment after completing their training.

Non-college credit courses offered through the department include truck driving, boiler operation and maintenance, computer programming, basic office skills and accounting.

Prospective police dispatchers and nurses aides can also certify at the center, which enrolls more than 15,000 people in classes annually.

Gil Cook, vice president of facilities and college relations, said the move from the Provo site to the west campus is anxiously awaited by students and administrators.

"Man, we can't wait," Cook said. "It will be nice to have them closer to the campus."

Cook said the college originally planned to remodel the 59,000-square-foot Provo building. But limited funding made the extensive upgrade unfeasible.

"We were going to upgrade to accommodate some other courses but when we started investigating we found it would cost us a lot of money to bring it to code," Cook said. "It would have cost more than it was worth."

About $3 million in state funds and $3.5 million garnered from the sale of the Provo campus to Brigham Young University paid for the new building, which is equipped with the latest technology for training in specialized fields.

Three houses on Geneva Road were acquired and razed to make way for the campus plan, which includes a rodeo arena and more buildings for classrooms.