South Piedmont will open Tech Center

Aug. 20, 2013 @ 04:57 PM

South Piedmont Community College will hold a ribbon cutting and open house on Friday for its new Center for Technology and Health Education. 

Phase 1 of the nearly 50,000 square-foot facility has been completed. The building will house all instructional aspects of the college’s advanced manufacturing and industrial maintenance programs, including mechatronics and CNC-Maching courses. The lab will provide laboratory space and other features for students. 

The plan to purchase the building and expand has been in the works for about a year, SPCC President Stan Sidor said.

“Coming in here, we knew we needed to find space,” he said. “(The programs are) very popular and very much in demand from our local manufacturing base...those programs have been scattered in two or three different locations in terms of the campus and in rented space off campus.”

With the new space, staff have been able to consolidate equipment and “put together a really solid, integrated training program,” Sidor said.

The center was made possible by private grant funds totaling about $3 million, including support from Duke Energy, OMNOVA and The Golden LEAF Foundation. That money was for start-up courses and purchasing machinery. An additional $3.5 million was provided by Union County for the purchase of the building and the property. 

“This is an important step toward meeting our region’s growing need for a highly-skilled workforce that is prepared for jobs in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, defense and energy,” President Stan Sidor said in a statement. “It will help us train men and women for great jobs that are available right now to those with the right training and it strengthens the college as a valuable resource for workforce and economic development in Union and Anson counties.”

Sidor said they have two apprenticeship advisory committees that help to drive the curriculum, based on the needs of local industry.

“(The new building) gives us some space, which we have desperately needed, and it allows us to start putting together training programs that look and mirror the feel of manufacturing or other business environments that students will eventually land in,” Sidor said.

The building is on 3509 Old Charlotte Highway in Monroe. The next two phases of the project include the expansion of classroom, lab and office space to support the relocation of healthcare and law enforcement training programs.

Sidor said he is looking forward to the next phases of the project.