Amarillo College suspends Aviation Maintenance Program

Amarillo College has suspended its Aviation Maintenance Program on its East Campus for the summer. It's a move that students say has left them scared, mad, and worried.

Pronews 7 received two emails from concerned students and their family members, angry over what they said is negligence on Amarillo College's part to keep the program running and properly and leaving them high and dry. So Pronews 7 went in search for answers from both Amarillo College and the Federal Aviation Administration.

As Chris Johnson sifts through what is left of his classroom on the Amarillo College East Campus, he and his classmates are worried that their college plans might not turn out the way they had hoped. They tell Pronews 7 it was earlier this week their counselor broke the news they would not be allowed to finish their final week.

"The counselor and the director came in and they told us kind of what know for a year that the FAA has stepped in told them they need to shut it down," said AC student, Chris Johnson.

Pronews 7 spoke with Amarillo College and the FAA. Both say it was the college's decision to suspend the program to make improvements to it.

"We have voluntarily suspended our program because we're moving into the new space and we're working with the FAA to make sure the new space is in compliance with their regulations," said Vice President for Academic Affairs, Russell Lowery-Hart.

Students also expressed their anger over what they're calling a wasted summer semester trying to earn their degree. They say now they're set back.

"It's heart breaking I was really looking forward to getting this thing done and over with and starting my life," said AC student, David Booe.

However, Amarillo College officials say this should have no impact on these students graduating on time.

"Students that are seeking a degree there won't be specific classes this summer for them to take in aviation, but there are other classes they can take toward their associates degree, core classes. Their aid won't be affected, their time degree won't be affected," said Lowery-Hart.

Amarillo College officials did say the students confusion and anger comes from miss-communication on the college's part, and they're working to fix it.

"We've sent an additional email this afternoon and will be meeting with them next week in person just to clarify because the program will be bigger and better they'll actually benefit from the changes that we're making".

Amarillo College officials also said they were not aware of the issues these students were facing until Pronews 7 brought their concerns to their attention. Russell Lowery-Hart said when this project is finished there will be new equipment and the students will be working out of two airplane hangers rather than one. He also stressed the program will be back in the Fall with all the upgrades made. Pronews 7 will follow up.