With a fresh emphasis in the restoration of Michigan’s transportation infrastructure, Ferris State University has broken ground to develop a new Institute for Construction Education and Training (ICET) facility, exclusive in higher education in its focus on training road-building professionals statewide.
The construction project is underway, and is due to be completed during the 2019 construction season, according to the College of Engineering Technology’s Thomas Larabel, director of ICET.
Ferris’ ICET is expected to be a resource for training technicians in roadbuilding practices such as sampling and inspection of aggregate roadbed materials, hot mix asphalt sampling and testing, and the supervising of paving operations, which is required by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Ferris was recently awarded five-year contracts by the state of Michigan to continue aspects of this instruction. Larabel said replacing the current facility, located on the east side of Big Rapids, is crucial to keep students and industry professionals up-to-date in their certification or to recertify those abilities.
“Our largest current classroom in the Corporate and Professional Development building is capable of taking in 16 students for a session, and the need is often there to squeeze in more than 20,” Larabel said. “The design for a new HMA testing lab will comfortably accommodate 12 participants, an improvement on the current space, which struggles to serve eight students. In all, we will benefit from more than 2,000 square feet of instructional space in this new facility, which will include a classroom capable of serving up to 24 students.”
The new ICET facility is part of Ferris’ “Now and Always” comprehensive campaign and industry partners have supported the $2.6 million project.
“A $1 million match for this project has been provided by the Asphalt Paving Association of Michigan, and we are grateful for their support,” Larabel said. “Our industry partners, such as consultants, materials suppliers and equipment companies, recognize this training as a key element in the viability of their service and success. The new ICET facility has a significant role in Michigan’s ability to adequately respond to and improve upon its deteriorating road system.”
Ferris is using $500,000 from course fees paid for ICET instruction and an additional $500,000 from the university to meet the APAM match.