Power tech center fundraising contiues

ALPENA – Alpena Community College has been working on plans for a new $5 million Ferris Werth Electrical Power Technology Center for the college’s utility technology and technical programs. The project includes expansion and renovation of the World Center for Concrete Technology with an over 18,500 square foot addition housing three classrooms, two technical labs, a computer lab, five faculty offices, an indoor high lab for power pole training, and a new garage to store and maintain equipment such as bucket trucks and a backhoe.

The Electrical Power Technology Center will aid in the transformation of the utility technician and electrical apprentice programs to meet growing electrical power demands.

“The power industry is growing,” college President Olin Joynton said. “We have outstanding faculty here with Roy Smith, Todd Artley, Rick Arbic and Mark Swanson, who are true program builders in both education and experience. They recruit from companies and cooperatives and network to make industry contacts for job placement.”

New courses such as a renewable electrical energy course, electrical grid course, and emerging trends in electrical power course hope to be offered with the new equipment and lab training space available in the new technology center.

“Electrical control systems are highly computerized,” Joynton said. “Students will learn to avert problems and also learn transfer station maintenance. The electrical power technology (associates of applied science) will be a broad based program pertaining to energy production and the different ways it can be generated.”

The state of Michigan granted $2.5 million to ACC for the Electrical Power Technology Center and after adding that money to funds from private financial resources, the college has raised about 85 percent of the $5 million project.

A $1 million bequest from the estate of Alpena businessman Ferris H. Werth, who will be the building’s namesake, along with a $250,000 Besser Foundation challenge grant that will provide a one-to-one match for every dollar donated, leaves the college with around $875,000 remaining to raise. The ACC Foundation trustees have initiated a $600,000 fundraising campaign to assist the college with funding for the center, with the funds remaining to be secured from industry partners, foundations and college funds.

Once the money has been raised, the design and construction documents will be finalized and bidding for contracts will begin, with construction hopefully beginning either this fall or in the spring of 2014.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at ngrulke@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.