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Fletcher marine facility expanding

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HOUMA, La. (AP) — Responding to the growing demand for maritime training, Fletcher Technical Community College hopes to open its new $6.6 million marine operations facility in Houma by early summer.

"We're just trying to expand all of our course offerings. There's a huge demand for maritime training right now because of the increase in the oil industry," said Breck Chaisson, director of Fletcher's Louisiana Marine and Petroleum Institute.

The Courier reports (http://bit.ly/1fiXlZy ) the 25,152-square-foot building, next to Cut Off-based Edison Chouest (SHWEST) Offshore's LaShip shipyard, will help expand the school's marine programs with more courses in areas such as water survival, remote operating vehicle training, dynamic positioning and simulator training.

The marine operations program, which has 2,300 to 2,400 students, provides specialized classroom instruction and practical training to prepare students to obtain various documents, licenses and endorsements issued by the Coast Guard and the Federal Communications Commission. These industry-based certifications are required for a variety of marine operations jobs.

"All of our offerings are Coast Guard approved. We teach everything that someone needs to be a mariner both in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide," Chaisson said.

The main component of the building is a 20-foot by 40-foot swimming pool that will be used for water survival training, Chaisson said. It will replace rental pool space at another location.

The project, which began in June, is being paid for through state construction money.

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Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com

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