Machinist/CNC assistant professor Steve Henkelman works with student SawTe Naing on an engine lathe using a form tool to make a ballpeen hammer head.

State budget includes funding for ATC renovations

The 2017-18 state budget, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on July 14, includes $6.3 million to update and expand the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center.

The state funding will cover half the cost of the $12.7 million project, which will focus on computer and manufacturing programs.

President Bill Pink called the project a win for all of West Michigan.

“We are so thrilled to have our capital outlay request selected by the state for funding,” he said. “I firmly believe that GRCC must stay relevant to the needs of West Michigan, and the expansion that will be done through these funds will help ensure that we do just that, specifically in the manufacturing and IT sectors. I thank our local and state legislators for joining us in this vision.”

The students who complete these programs are in high demand, so it’s important for GRCC to keep its classrooms current with the latest equipment and tools used in these industries, said Amy Koning, dean of the School of Workforce Development.

“The Applied Technology Center is currently a well-hidden gem in downtown GR,” she said. “From the outside, you’d never know the vast labs that exist in the building – plastics, culinary, machine tool, electronics, Maker’s Lab, CAD labs, HVAC and many more.

“Now we are excited to have the opportunity to upgrade this building to help meet the increasing need for a skilled information technology and manufacturing workforce.”

The project will target spaces used by the Computer Information Systems and Manufacturing programs.

GRCC and Ferris State University celebrated the 25th anniversary of the ATC in fall 2016. The building is the result of a collaboration between the two institutions and the state, which provided $13 million of the $27 million construction costs. In 2008, it was renamed to honor the financial support of Tom and Joyce Wisner, and David and Michelle Bottrall.

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