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SPCC unveils new technical and health educational center

26 August 2013

Carolyn Steeves, The Enquirer Journal

Members of the community gathered Friday afternoon to open and tour South Piedmont Community College’s new Center for Technology and Health Education. 

The nearly 50,000-square-foot facility has classrooms and houses the school’s technical programs including CNC-Machinery, mechanical training and other programs. 

Mike Willard, an instructor and machining coordinator, described the building as “over-the-top nice.”

“This is beautiful,” he said. 

He said he liked that all of the technologies were together.

“Our students get to mingle and see what we all do,” he said. 

The students have been working in the new building this semester. There was a pilot group over the summer, as well. 

Willard said most of his incoming students come through word-of-mouth, because they know someone in the program. He said the career is more than a job, it is a passion. 

“This definitely’s a passion kind of a job,” he said. Willard has been in the field for about 49 years, his whole life, he said. He said he learned new technologies and equipment because of his passion for the work. 

For Monroe and Union County, the new building could mean a boost in attracting industry and creating a larger workforce for existing industries.

“We’ve actually already shown it to prospective clients,” Executive Director of Economic Development Chris Platé said. He said their “eyes lit up” when they saw the facility.  

Platé said the facility is something they have needed for a long time. 

“This is what modern manufacturing looks like,” he said.

He said students get to see what a modern manufacturing environment looks like and it is better for recruiting a workforce. The building has clean, white floors and large equipment. 

Platé said it is “not your grandfather’s manufacturing.” 

He said the building is coming at just the right time. The building was the Bealer Wholesale building, prior to the college’s purchase. 

The grand opening featured Phase 1. Phases 2 and 3 will add more classrooms and programs and will be completed in the future. 

South Piedmont Community College President Stan Sidor said he was happy that people could find the time in their busy day to come and see the facility. 

“People are very, very impressed,” he said. He said they were impressed that they took and old warehouse building and turned it into classrooms and facilities.

He said the students and faculty are also very happy with the new facility.

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