Ferris Opens Construction Center

May 7, 2004
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BIG RAPIDS — Students in Ferris State University’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) program and in its construction program don’t have to settle for ordinary classrooms any longer.

Or, worse, for classrooms that during the past two years have been part of a swirl of construction dust, welding cables, the odor of paint and all the disruption of renovation.

It has all been part of an $18 million renovation of the university’s Construction Technology Center.

The center was built 38 years ago and had not been improved or renovated since. And because the Ferris construction curriculum has grown, the center had too little classroom and laboratory space for current and projected enrollment growth.

The renovation, which began two years ago and was completed in January, has converted the center into a virtual learning laboratory.

Thus, students in construction technology and management and in HVACR now have access to cutaway views of components such as structural and wall construction along with mechanical and electrical systems including plumbing, electrical, telecommunications, heating and cooling.

The facility officially will become the Granger Center for Construction and HVACR in dedication ceremonies Friday, May 7.

Construction wrapped up in January.

The center, located on the northeast corner of campus, was made possible through private donations and state, university and industry support.

The project included a 45,000-square-foot addition.

The center’s 75,000-square-foot virtual learning laboratory also features a two-story mechanical room where cut-away views of plumbing, electrical, heating, cooling, structural and construction components are visible and color-coded.

The center’s multiple mechanical systems include geothermal heating and cooling and in-floor radiant heat.

The Granger Center also houses specialized laboratories to study hydronic and forced-air heating, commercial refrigeration and air conditioning, metalworking, soldering, pipefitting, electrical systems, soils, hydraulics, materials testing, framing, steel structure and concrete form pouring.

Ferris’ four-year program in HVACR is the only one of its kind in Michigan and the largest and most widely recognized of three similar programs in the United States.

The university is also one of several colleges and universities in Michigan and the United States to offer a four-year degree in construction management plus associated two-year degrees.

Most students in Ferris’ two-year programs in building construction technology and civil engineering technology continue into the four-year program, which — according to the university — has a 100 percent placement rate.

Making the lead gift for the project were Alton and Janice Granger, of Dimondale. James and Andrea Klett, of Dowagiac, funded the facility’s materials laboratory.

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