Amarillo College is expanding after receiving a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The grant will be used to increase AC's science, technology, engineering and math departments (STEM).
With the grant the college will offer for the first time new certificates and degree programs in the biology department.
"One of the best things about the grant is biology has never offered certificates," Biology Director De. Claudie Biggers said. "Certificates allow students to come and get educated quickly and get back out into the work force and they get work force skills that really make them competitive in the work field."
New degree programs are in the works and will include environmental science, biotechnology and sustainable resources.
The biology department now has an opportunity to expand and a new a 12,000 thousand foot facility is in the works.
The facility will provide students with research space, labs and the ability to work with the latest technology.
AC professors agree this is the biggest grant the college has received and one believes it will transform AC's biology department.
"We'll be able to actually look at roots growing in the soil by using some of these high end imaging kind of techniques," professor Brandon Moore said. "Students can do an experiment to look at the affect of drought stress or nutrient requirements that a given plant may need for sustaining its growth and reproduction."
On Monday AC professors will meet to discuss a time-line for the five year grant.
The new certificates and degree plans are projected to begin during the second year of the grant.