Lockwood Hall, the industrial arts building, recently celebrated to show off their new makeover in an open house that revealed the long overdue upgrade to the welding, automotive and now apprenticeship programs.
In the late afternoon of Nov. 1, an enthused collection of students, proud UCC staff and the interested public came to the Lockwood open house to see the vast array of changes which the students and instructors have been enjoying since the start of fall term.
“We always had up-to-date equipment; it was the building that did not support our growth,” Ian Fisher, associate professor and coordinator of welding said.
Between the one and two year welding and automotive programs, Lockwood’s roster was far outgrowing what the building could smoothly accommodate. With donations from Con-Vey, Perry Murray and an anonymous donor, plans for expansion, consolidation and repurposing of the space began.
“The need for growth of the industrial arts building had been identified for at least ten years,” Fisher said. Many attempts for a remodel or a new building and opportunities for extra funding fell through over the years before the plans for expansion and upgrade were also being set. “We had a plan B. We could repurpose and expand what we already had,” Fisher said.
The remodel didn’t just serve the automotive and welding program; it helped the student population of the UCC apprenticeship program as well, by making space for them here on campus. The apprentice classes like machining, hydraulics and pneumatics and electronics, have long been a part of the school curriculum, but with this expansion the program which had continually leased off-campus teaching space, now has a home at Lockwood.
Lockwood Hall originally housed two different welding programs, the automotive service technology program and the mail room and accounting offices. When the expansion began, the mail room was moved to the next building and accounting moved to the student services spaces. This made it possible to bring the apprenticeship program home to the industrial arts space.
“The benefit of the revamp, besides the money saved from not leasing, is apprenticeship students being on campus,” Kevin Mathweg apprenticeship instructor and program coordinator said. “They are UCC students, but having school off-campus they didn’t have the same experience; now it feels more inclusive.”
With the several changes, the students are feeling the improvements.
“We are providing to the students in terms of their education and skill set. They are better experienced with the provided space,” Fisher said. “It was never that we didn’t have enough equipment or expertise, we just didn’t have a location to do all the things they needed to learn.”
Fisher and Duane Thompson, the second-year welding instructor, credit the Director of Facilitities Jess Miller, as a key coordinator of the Lockwood revamp. “He kind of came on as the general, and hired and coordinated the subcontractors,” Fisher said.
The apprenticeship programs, although being part of UCC curriculum for years, had for a long time leased out rental space from Murray Electric. Murray, a UCC alumnus, contributed most of the electrical work required in the upgrade.
Both welding and automotive instructors acknowledge the importance of the addition of a lobby. The new entryway, which was previously the welding classroom, provides both programs with a place to host and welcome professionals within the industries.
“We needed the image to reflect the quality and the ability of our students, and now it does,” John Blakley, UCC automotive coordinator said.
Because of the remodel, every program in Lockwood had dramatic changes and improvements. The automotive program was able to repurpose their own space by making changes that utilize their current space better, like building a storage space and removing the false walls used for classroom space. Now the lecture portion for the automotive program has moved to the nearby Wayne Crooch Hall.
The welding program, besides significant upgrades to the ventilation and a student-built storage shed, had the major change of two separate classrooms for the steel and aluminum welding. It is a huge boost to the welding programs by eliminating the cross-contamination of steel into aluminum. “Aluminum likes to be very clean,” Thompson said.
Several industrial arts students express pride in their programs and instructors and note the remodel has helped with student productivity.
Sarah Moon, a student of the one-year automotive certificate, was not present for the change but still recognizes the constructive transformation. “What I’ve heard from others is that changes have proven to be positive regarding how effectively students can work,” Moon said.
Kylee Alstadt, a veteran welding student finishing up credits this year recognizes the greater benefits in their remodeled work space. “Now we have the space to do big projects. That gives us an advantage when looking for employment,” Alstadt said.
“One of the biggest changes is that you don’t have such a large amount of people in such a small area,” Christian Powell, second year welding student said. Powell remembered the challenges of trying to get projects done amidst a crowded environment with two welding programs simultaneously running. “Now you’re not standing shoulder to shoulder, waiting on machines, overall it helps with the flow of the program.”
Although first-year students at Lockwood Hall arrived to these new changes, second-year welding students had an active role in doing some of the upgrades to their new space. One second-year student Ephraim Mullins was hired under Miller over the summer for his contributions, but apart from Mullins most of the work by welding students was volunteer. Students contributed varying amounts of time and energy to several upgrades, one being the additional work booths for the second class room, now stocked with lockers for each student’s individual projects.
Alstadt, who volunteered many hours to renovations, thinks it was well worth it. “It is much more cohesive,” Alstadt said.
The upgrades to Lockwood Hall have continued to be significant, but they are not done. “It’s going to be a process,” Blakely said.
For more information on the auto program, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on welding programs, write to Ian.email@example.com
For more information on the apprenticeship programs write to Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org
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