PHOTO CAPTIONS: Expanded laboratories for the Center of Welding Excellence and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing are two elements of a recently-completed $30 renovation million project for Ferris State University's Swan Technical Arts Building. Guests will be welcomed to tour the renovated laboratory space following a dedication ceremony on the afternoon of Friday, April 26.
A $30 million collaborative investment by the state of Michigan and Ferris State University will be on display Friday afternoon, April 26, when expanded and renovated areas of the Swan Technical Arts Building Annex are dedicated, with a reception and self-guided tours to follow a brief ceremony.
The state made a $22.5 million appropriation to support the development of the Center of Welding Excellence and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in June 2016, more than two years after then-Governor Rick Snyder had toured the Swan Building at the invitation of Ferris President David Eisler. The university has put forth its required match of $7.5 million of financial contribution and in-kind acquisition of technology and equipment for the centers.
Welding Engineering Technology Associate Professor and Program Coordinator Jeffrey Carney said the renovation has provided space for additional laboratories, which allows the program to admit more students to its associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
“Creating greater access and opportunity for our students was a key consideration in this project,” Carney said. “They are very excited by the new facilities, and all they can offer in terms of their learning. Parents of our students are glad that these amenities are available, and that the facilities promote greater health and safety. Our visitors are awed by what they find in the new laboratories.”
College of Engineering Technology interim dean Rich Goosen said the university is to be commended for its foresight, as funding for the project also supported an upgrade to the facilities for the Architecture program, in the School of Built Environment.
“The appropriate emphasis on improved facilities for our Welding and Manufacturing programs served as an opportunity, which was carried forward by the provost’s office from our first requests for support in 2013, to now,” Goosen said. “We will provide skilled welding engineering technologists to meet industry demands in Michigan more quickly now, and achieve benefits for several other programs in our college.”
Manufacturing Technology Associate Professor and Program Coordinator Dean Krager said that thanks to the increased laboratory and academic space; students will receive more comprehensive delivery of instruction.
“Our goal for the manufacturing programs has long been to completely upgrade and expand our laboratories,” Krager said. “With the completion of this project, we are now on track to provide the largest, most up-to-date manufacturing instructional labs in the state. This facility provides the opportunity to further develop and expand our programs. We look forward to growing our program to better meet with industry needs and provide students a first-class learning environment.”
School of Design and Manufacturing Director Mark Dunneback, an associate professor of Manufacturing Technology, said the facilities that became operational as of the Fall 2018 semester are a great recruitment tool for all programs in the CET.
“These brighter, more modern facilities really speak to the current state of affairs in welding, and manufacturing,” Dunneback said. “The donations of technology and equipment offered to outfit the laboratories are really an expression of the value that our industry partners place in Ferris’ programs, and are of great benefit to our college.”
Former State Senator Darwin Booher, who was a champion for the Swan Annex project during his time as chair of the Capital Outlay subcommittee, will speak at the 1:15 p.m. dedication ceremony, along with Ferris administrators, faculty and students. That event, for an invited audience, will take place in Lot 2, immediately south of the Swan Annex, near Ives Avenue.
A reception will follow in the Swan Technical Arts Building, with tours of the Center of Welding Excellence and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing available. Senior Mechanical Engineering Technology projects will also be on display, demonstrated by those students, which will continue to 3 p.m.