High Plains Technology Center’s valuable oil and gas program may not be in trouble after all.

The program, which ran out of funding recently, was on the brink of extinction when a last minute bill from the Oklahoma State Legislature passed, pending on a signature from Governor Brad Henry.

“It was a bill will ran through kind of at the eleventh hour,” said Oklahoma Senator Owen Laughlin, R-Woodward. Laughlin said the bill ran through on the last day of session.

The money to be received is $500,000 through the state career tech fund - $100,000 of which will be given to High Plains’ sister program in Poteau, said High Plains Superintendent Dr. Don Dale.

The program, originally started through a federal grant, has trained over 6,500 workers for positions in the oil and gas industry.

While High Plains had no previous indication money would come through for the program Sen. Laughlin said the legislature has been “working on it all session.”

Laughlin said he has always thought the oil and gas program at High Plains held great importance for Oklahoma.

“My pitch has always been the oil and gas industry has been contributing enormously to state revenue and they really need to be supportive of it,” said Laughlin.

Dale said the money will greatly help the program and although they may have to downsize the school and collaborate with the oil and gas industry to determine the most pressing needs before a decision is made on which parts of the program to keep.

Dale also said there have been indications that members of the oil and gas industry may contribute to the funding of the program now that there is “seed money” to keep the program alive.

“I think there’s a real possibility that the industry will help us,” said Dale.

Laughlin said he has no reason to the think Gov. Henry will not sign the bill which is part of a package deal for several projects around the state.

“I have no reason to believe he won’t (sign),” said Laughlin.

Dale expressed his appreciation to Laughlin as well as to State Representatives Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell and Rob Johnson, R-Kingfisher for their work in helping the program receive money.

Also receiving money from the state will be Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Woodward campus.

“The building project needed some more money to finish their project,” said Laughlin. “I tried for $800,000. I was real happy to come up with $750,000.”

Northwestern Oklahoma State University representatives declined comment until the funding is made official by the governor’s signature.

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