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CVTC diesel student details building's educational impact

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

CVTC diesel student details building's educational impact

Image: CVTC diesel student details building's educational impact

Dan Messerschmidt, 19, is in his second year of the Diesel Truck Technician program at Chippewa Valley Technical College. Messerschmidt said he appreciates the new Transportation Education Center, and he believes it will help him grow as a technician.

Dan Messerschmidt said it’s all about perspective, and he has it.

The 19-year-old student at Chippewa Valley Technical College began his Diesel Truck Technician program classes in 2021 when the shop and the classroom were in different buildings and equipment had to be piled in corners and on tables.

Today, during his second year in the program, Messerschmidt is bathing in the glow of bright fluorescent lights in a 21-station repair shop at the College’s new Transportation Education Center on the West Campus.

This is the first time since CVTC began teaching transportation courses that those like-programs are all under the same roof. And that roof is a tall one. The tallest point in the building is in the diesel lab reaching almost 31 feet.

The public will have an opportunity to see the grand nature of the building, the state-of-the-art technology and partake in hands-on demonstrations during the Transportation Open House Thursday, Sept. 29.

Messerschmidt, a Fall Creek High School graduate now reaping the rewards of a brand-new educational space to earn his degree, will speak during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building.

“I’m happy to have had the stark contrast from the old building to this new, large, upgraded facility,” he said. “The new shop is substantially larger allowing us to have more trucks and equipment in the shop at a time. This gives students a more realistic shop experience to help prepare us for our future.”

Ron Borek, Jr., CVTC Diesel Truck Technician instructor, said the space also equates to additional safety for students and instructors.

“All of this equipment is no longer on top of itself, and students are not on top of each other,” Borek said. “It’s important to have this space for the students to work safely and efficiently. For me, that’s the biggest upgrade.”

But there are other perks, of course.

Because the shop and classroom were separate, the students and instructors were spending unnecessary time moving between buildings.

“We were constantly walking back and forth,” he said. “You can imagine what it was like in the winter. Now, the students come here and everything they need is at their fingertips.”

Messerschmidt, who took his general education college courses at CVTC as a high school student, said another important addition is the commons and workspaces within the building.

“Being able to have a space to do homework and collaborate on projects with classmates has been a nice improvement over the previous campus,” he said. “Plus, I can meet people from similar programs. There’s a certain camaraderie that comes with this new building.”

Borek said it’s good for the students to gather in the common areas to talk about their skills and any problems they may encounter in the field. That wasn’t possible before now.

“Students who are here in diesel or auto-related courses, they are all in the same trade,” he said. “They are all related and together under one roof. It’s a much better experience. There’s a certain familiarity when they see students they know around campus.”

Since diesel technicians are in such high demand with competitive wages, constructing a building like this for transportation was imperative, he said.

“Anything that you go out and buy for everyday life like food, fuel or clothing – everything is transported using a diesel engine,” Borek said. “It’s a very in-demand job, and anybody that has the interest and is willing to learn has the ability to learn this trade.”

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