SIC Breaks Ground on New Mine Training Facility

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By WSIL Reporter

HARRISBURG -- Leaders at Southeastern Illinois College broke ground Tuesday afternoon for a new simulated underground mine safety training center. 

The college received $220,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development to build the 1,200-square-foot facility. 

It will be used to educate students for a career in coal mining and let current coal miners complete their annual training. 

"The miners go, in they'll be able to walk through the tunnels of the mine and it will be just a really lifelike simulation for them to obtain skills. In case there's ever a potential for an accident underground they'll have that training so they respond as quickly and safely as possible," said SIC President Jonah Rice.

Miners are required to complete 40 hours of safety training before starting work in the coal mines, plus an additional 10 hours a year.

At the SIC campus around 1000 students and coal miners participate in their training program.  

"As part of that training they'll actually come in here and have to ventilate or rescue, in other words they will actually be in a mine as part of their annual retraining," said Mike Thomas Dean of Workforce Education with Eastern Illinois Community Colleges.

The facility will be completed in the fall.

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