Whirlpool buys Lake Michigan College M-Tech building

Lake Michigan College will be able to expand current and offer new academic programs in engineering technology, mechatronics, robotics, prototype and design technology, and energy production with a boost from the sale of the college's M-TEC building, located at 400 Klock Road in Benton Harbor.

Details of the sale were not disclosed, but the purchase by Whirlpool will help the school move toward its goal of having a new technology center on the Napier Avenue Campus in Benton Harbor.

The 44,000 square foot M-TEC building, built in 2000, sits on 9.783 acres of land. "The facility has served its purpose well over the past 14 years," says Lake Michigan College President, Dr. Robert Harrison, "but the increase in operational efficiencies, the expansion of program and service offerings, and a better learning environment for students, made a strong case for the move."

Consolidating M-TEC programs onto the college’s main campus will improve students' access to services like financial aid and academic advising. Technical classes will also be located nearer to general education classes like math, business, and English.

When the new center is completed it features will include a FABLab and a simulation lab. The College has received a federal trade grant to purchase state-of-the-art equipment.

The new tech center will be built and its programs are being enhanced in response to an increased demand for skilled workers in the region. In January 2014, the college conducted a survey of dozens of representatives from area businesses.

They identified the training, facilities, and programs that would meet their needs, and together they pledged to bring 260 new, high-skilled jobs to the area within three years of the center opening. Businesses surveyed included Vickers Engineering, Edgewater Automation, Whirlpool Corporation, Dane Systems, Hanson Mold, Eagle Technologies and the Cook Nuclear Plant.

"Manufacturing is strong in southwest Michigan," says Harrison. "We must constantly evolve in order to prepare students with the high-tech skills they need to help our industries thrive."

Source: Lake Michigan College
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