Today staff from Lake Land College and Illinois community partners announced that the old Paris High School isn’t obsolete.

Three years ago, the high school was moved to a new building. Now, city officials are happy that the old building will have a new purpose.

The old vo-tech building just behind the high school is a new manufacturing program for Lake Land College students. This is good news for people in the manufacturing business.

Paris welcomes plastics. Which means learning isn’t dead at the old high school.

“The city took this over with the idea it could still be used for educational purposes, and look, it’s being used for educational purposes,” Mayor Craig Smith said.

Lake Land College announced Thursday that they’ll take over the old vo-tech building and turn it into a plastic manufacturing program for students and those currently in the field looking to improve their skills.

Mayor Craig Smith says his town is unique in the state of Illinois because it’s actually attracting businesses. This program will be the first of its kind in a 180 mile radius.

“Paris in fact, in the last ten years has had a dramatic increase in manufacturing jobs, so instead of companies leaving Paris, we have companies coming to Paris,” Mayor Smith said.

This facility will aid in the increase of job opportunities.

“In training plastics technicians, these individuals will come out and they’ll have access to a multitude of jobs in the plastics industry where they’ll be earning 18 to 20 dollars an hour, life sustaining wages,” president of Lake Land College Josh Bullock said.

Bullock says this program has been in the works for about a year.

They anticipate it won’t just bring plastics to Paris, but people.

“I think it’s because we’re becoming a manufacturing Mecca and because of training like this,” Mayor Smith said.

“The trickle effect is real. The more that we see these employers growing their labor force, they add 100, 200, 300 more workers … They start to see that money in the economy you do see more local restaurants and shopping and more local activity so it’s really a way to grow the entire community,” Bullock said.

North American Lighting in Paris was instrumental in donating equipment for the manufacturing program.

Other donors were Libman Company and the Lake Land College Foundation. Mayor Craig Smith says North American Lighting in Paris is actually looking to add more lines to their operations.