Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Construction of CVTC Transportation Center Underway

Facility is a major piece of referendum-approved projects

Article Photo - Construction of CVTC Transportation Center Underway

Representatives of CVTC, Market & Johnson, SDS Architects BWBR Architecture perform a traditional groundbreaking at the site of CVTC’s new Transportation Education Center, Monday, May 3.

Chippewa Valley Technical College held a construction kick-off ceremony for the new Transportation Education Center (TEC) Monday, May 3. The $29.6 million, 120,837 square foot facility is one of major projects presented in the $48.8 million referendum overwhelmingly approved by voters in April 2020.

TEC will house the CVTC transportation-related programs, including Automotive Technician; Auto Collision Repair; Diesel Truck Technician; Truck Driving; Motorcycle, Marine and Outdoor Power and Agriculture Service Technician. Currently, those programs are housed in spaces in need of upgrading and spread out over several CVTC campuses. The project cost also includes a 15,000 square foot storage facility.

“This is a great day for CVTC and the entire region,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “The transportation industry is changing rapidly with the increased popularity of electric and alternative fuel vehicles, advancement of computer technology utilized in the industry in both construction and servicing, and the ongoing need for technicians who stay on the cutting edge of the changes. The Transportation Education Center will benefit CVTC students and the businesses that hire them.”

“The upgrading of the program facilities and their consolidation in one location is an important goal of this project,” said Adam Wehling, dean of energy, agriculture and transportation. “Our new Agriculture Service Technician program needs to be close to our other agriculture-related programs at the Energy Education Center, not miles away in a rented facility with the Diesel Truck Technician program, which will now be in the same building as the Truck Driving program.”

Wehling added that the broader community will benefit from the facility as well by increasing opportunities for high school students through dual credit classes and academies and improving motorcycle safety training for the community.

The Transportation Education Center is also expected to host community and industry events, like the electric vehicle showcase that debuted two years ago and drew far more people than expected but has been on hold due to the pandemic, Wehling said.

The facility will be sustainable and built to LEED Silver standards. SDS Architects and BWBR collaborated on the designed the building. The construction manager is Market & Johnson of Eau Claire. Many of the subcontractors are from within the CVTC district. Completion is scheduled for June 2022 with program equipment installed over the summer and an opening in time for the Fall 2022 semester.

Karen Kohler, executive director of Institutional Advancement and CVTC Foundation, Inc., said support from local companies help make TEC possible.

“Relationships with our industry partners allow us to keep up with evolving technology and industry expectations. Financial partnerships allow us to provide equipment, supplies, programming, and technology that meet industry standards and provide the best possible training opportunities for our students. Through commemorative naming opportunities, businesses and individuals will have tangible impact on the project and CVTC’s commitment to the transportation industry.”

At the kick-off event, student association representative Luwa Adegoke announced a donation by the association of $400,000 each to the Transportation Education Center and the Emergency Services Education Center projects. The money will be used for furnishings and other amenities in student common areas. CVTC is also moving ahead with other referendum projects.

Work continues on a 10,000 square-foot addition to the Manufacturing Education Center to expand the existing Welding program facilities. The Automation Fabrication Lab will help address employers’ demands for trained welders, allowing for curriculum enhancements for automation and robotic welding. The facility is expected to be ready for the Fall 2021 semester.

An expansion and remodeling project at the Emergency Service Education Center will kick off construction next month with completion in June 2022. Expansion will occur through construction of a 27,800 square foot addition, including a new 50-yard firing range, apparatus bay and expanded student commons. Remodeling of 24,400 square feet of the center will create a defensive and arrest tactics room, fitness area, simulation space and improved space for Emergency Medical Services.

The referendum included smaller projects also in development. CVTC is conferring with River Falls community and business leaders to discuss the best options for development of 6.7 acres of land acquired from the former Moody’s auto dealership property adjacent to the CVTC River Falls campus. Improvements are also planned at the Chippewa Falls and Menomonie campuses.

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