Lang Hall is planned to have a new multi-million dollar neighbor by fall 2017 in an effort to expand the advanced manufacturing program.
Last week, the college submitted a $12 million grant request from the state in effort to build the Gene Haas Technology Center. The college is currently looking to fund the project with money from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI) if the Capital Region is granted $500 million from the seven-county competition.
“When you apply for a grant, it’s a gamble. I don’t want to say it any other way,” said Phil White, dean of School of Business, School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies. According to White, if the Capital Region is not selected from the URI, the college will explore further grants in the private sector along with moving the date of completion.
“We’re going to try to be the best technology complex in the United States,” said Professor Dave Larkin. The current building cost is currently estimated at $8 million along with an additional $4 million for equipment depending on how much the project costs by 2017. When applying for the URI, the college labelled the project upwards of $14 million.
Updated machinery such as more computerized numerical control machines and manual control systems will be replaced in the new building. “This type of equipment is also the same type of equipment that they would use out in the industry,” said Larkin.
“Some of the machines are just really old and technology is fairly different [now],” said associate professor James Hamilton. After the new building opens, according to Larkin, facility laboratory space for the program in Lang Hall may be used for other technology programs such as mechatronics.
The project has been under discussion at the college over the last four years. According to Larkin, the $1 million grant the program received last month by the Gene Haas Foundation was crucial to the project. “The hardest money to get is the first million. When outside company comes in like that and plunks out $1 million, they show they’re serious,” he said.
President Drew Matonak visited California over the summer to discuss the grant with Gene Haas Foundation administrators. After the visit, the Gene Haas Foundation agreed to support the college with a $1 million grant. “The support from the Gene Haas foundation will ensure the college’s role in preparing more students to meet the grow workforce need in manufacturing,” said Matonak.
“The more space they get, the more CNC equipment they can get in here, the better the graduates will be coming out of the program,” said Rob Honsinger, advanced manufacturing student. With the new space, 40 new spaces in the advanced manufacturing program are expected to open up at Hudson Valley by the fall 2017 semester, nearly doubling the size of the program.
Hudson Valley has had a machining program since its founding 62 years ago, which evolved into the advanced manufacturing program over the last decade. “Machining technology is changing really fast so the new building will give [students] a new opportunity to keep pace and get a relevant education,” said Honsinger.