WCCC's Advanced Technology Center to emerge in former Sony plant
As construction dust settled inside the southeast corner of the former Sony plant in East Huntingdon, Westmoreland County Community College officials celebrated the beginning of the space's transition to the college's Advanced Technology Center.
Friday marked the end of six weeks of demolition inside the gargantuan industrial campus where WCCC will house its workforce development programs, starting in fall 2014.
Programs such as welding, electronics, metallurgy and mechatronics that squeeze into about 18,000 square feet on the college's campus near Youngwood soon will spread over 73,500 square feet.
The space is so large the primary hallway is labeled “Main Street” on architectural renderings by Astorino, a Pittsburgh-based firm. Behind the hall of offices will be classrooms and lab space; behind that will be open space that can be configured to meet the needs of companies that use WCCC to train their workers.
Officials touted the Advanced Technology Center as an anchor in the 2.8 million-square-foot RIDC-Westmoreland facility that already houses Aquion Energy and DNP IMS America Corp., which makes printing and packaging supplies.
“In due time, this building is going to be filled with employers,” said Larry Larese, chairman of WCCC's board of trustees.
“The availability of flexible, customized workforce training will be an incentive for new employers to relocate to this facility and the nearby industrial parks,” said WCCC President Daniel Obara.
Trustee Gene Ciafre, co-chair of the college's capital campaign, said the technical programs to be housed at the new center prepare students for jobs that did not exist five or 10 years ago.
Ciafre said WCCC recently received the largest donation in college history, a $2 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
The capital campaign has raised $23.5 million of about $28.5 million needed for three projects: renovations at the technology center and the campus near Youngwood and construction of a new campus in Latrobe.
County Commissioner Ted Kopas said WCCC's projects are having a big impact on the county. The technology center is making over the “ghost town” that was the former Sony plant while providing needed workforce training. And the college's Latrobe campus replaces an aging facility and revitalizes a downtown, he said.
After the ceremony, staff from several programs that will relocate to the technology center demonstrated what students learn in their classes.
Rich Houlis, a mechatronics lab technician, showed a valve-assembly unit that teaches students hydraulics, mechanical and electrical systems and computer programming. Houlis said he will put mistakes throughout the machine and students have to figure out what's wrong.
“That's what they'd be facing if they were in a factory,” Houlis said.
A video showed a Haas 5-Axis Mill at work in a WCCC lab. The mill, on loan for two years from the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, can make parts quickly by cutting and moving in five directions, said Frank Kordalski, dean of workforce development.
Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or email@example.com.
Add Kari Andren to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WCCC fraternity helps fallen Ligonier officer’s family
- Police, the Diamond top Ligonier Borough issues
- Mt. Pleasant board looks at refinancing
- Westmoreland County Common Pleas candidates differ on judicial retirement age
- West Newton officials, code officer clear the air
- Jeannette considers trash fee increases
- Greensburg council OKs purchase of firetruck
- Ligonier Valley takes proactive financial steps amid state budget stalemate
- Greensburg grocer Charley esteemed for his charity work
- Navigating college financial aid options pays off
- 4 vie for 3 seats on Latrobe City Council