Don Benjamin, dean of Hays campus, said the idea is to establish the program in Hays, using convention center facilities to help train students.
Benjamin said NCK Tech will hire the best candidate possible and, if Hays is chosen as the location, the college would establish the program in fall 2014.
Benjamin said both NCK Tech and Fort Hays State University will have some input on the design aspects of the design of the potential convention center.
“Ours is more of the basic space requirements as well as the necessary equipment, commercial kitchen situation to be able to teach from,” he said, noting the college also has approached private businesses with the possibility of leasing space for the program.
The current program in Beloit has 10 to 12 students but is limited by space.
Benjamin said he believes that number could double if the program would be relocated to a new facility in Hays. NCK Tech hopes to have an instructor hired by February.
Planning for a convention center has been in the works for years, with the Hays City Commission tasking the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development to provide a viable plan.
While no developer has been chosen, preliminary concepts show a convention center being built west of Vine and south of the Holiday Inn Express. Preliminary funding concepts would include a community improvement district, which would establish an increased sales tax in the area to pay off bonds used in construction.
The coalition has formed a nonprofit corporation that could be the owner of the proposed facility, while FHSU has been discussed as the operator.