Toledo Blade Staff
MONROE — Monroe County Community College has taken steps to finance the school’s costs to build a $17 million Career Technology Center on the South Raisinville Road campus.
Trustees last week agreed to take up to $8.5 million in savings, or 50 percent of the project cost, for the college’s required match.
The college is hoping to begin construction in July on the 71,300-square-foot building between the Life Sciences Building and the Welch Health Education Building.
When completed in September, 2012, President David Nixon said, the structure will be equipped with state-of-the art classrooms and high-bay technical labs for instruction in emerging careers in nuclear engineering, construction, automotive engineering, vehicle fuel-cell technology, welding, construction, and computer-aided drafting and manufacturing.
Mr. Nixon pointed out in a press release that the building will be near a solar field being installed by DTE Energy.
“This facility will serve as a model for the teaching of alternative energy programs. The planning and vision that have gone into make the Career Technology Center a reality are a testament to the dedication our trustees, faculty, and staff have to the future of Monroe County.”
Hobbs + Black of Ann Arbor, Mich., was hired in 2009 to design the one-story structure. The architects have been paid $74,067 for their work. College trustees also have hired Detroit-based Walbridge to manage the construction project.
Mr. Nixon said the Monroe County Community College Foundation, the fund-raising arm of the school, will announce the campaign within the next several weeks to secure gifts for the project. He said the campaign will be similar to the drive undertaken for the La-Z-Boy Center in 2004.
The campaign drive for the cultural arts center surpassed the $3 million goal by $1.5 million.
He said a feasibility study OK’d by board trustees indicated that there would be a high probability that enough support exists in the community that the college would reach the fund-raising goal.
“We will be moving ahead with the capital campaign,” he said.
College officials said among the next steps will be the final design work by architects and work on construction documents to have the project ready for bid in June.
William J. Bacarella, chairman of the trustees, said in a prepared statement that the building will add the school’s classroom space while boosting capacity for current and future technology curriculum.
“This new facility will be an important economic development tool for Monroe County as we market Monroe to companies in emerging energy and automotive technologies — wind, solar, nuclear, and battery,” he said.
Mark Bergmooser, president of the 70-member Faculty Association, said the building could provide excellent learning opportunities for students and potential job growth for teachers in the industrial technology field.
“My only concern regarding this new facility is the cost to operate and maintain it. These costs should not be shouldered by the employees of Monroe County Community College,” he said.