WAYNE — After a four-year journey to get to this point, the $15.8 million Center for Applied Technology officially opened Friday on the Wayne State College campus here.
“I remember it very vividly,” said Wayne State President Dr. Marysz Rames of the process of going from concept to reality. “It was actually my first month on the job when I arrived at Wayne State College.”
At the time, there was a group of stakeholders from education and industry that started to work with Wayne State College. They wanted to build upon the college’s existing strength in offering a teaching endorsement in industrial technology as well as four-year degrees in fields such as design, drafting and safety management.
Back then, the existing programs were housed in an older facility on campus. “You would have noticed that building did not represent today’s industry,” Rames said with a smile.
But now, that has all changed.
The college’s CAT building — as it’s known — is home to the industrial technology and computer science information systems programs. The building is home to drafting and science, computer science, construction and manufacturing management programs, networking and other technical programs.
The college hosted an open house and reception Friday to officially open the facility, although some classes have been taught there already this semester.
After the first year of planning for the facility, Wayne State was able to receive funding from a wide variety of supporters. The City of Wayne pledged $1 million to support the facility.
“We have a great Wayne State Foundation that went out and raised dollars from private donors as well as industry and then, of course, college funds put together,” Rames said. “All that work came together for 15.8 million dollars.”
With the new building, Wayne State has developed a new manufacturing management degree and is moving forward toward a new engineering technology degree.
“The CAT permits us to change and grow and create lots of new opportunities,” said Dr. Vaughn Benson, the college’s dean of the School of Business and Technology.
Ben Aschoff, a senior at Wayne State from David City, spoke at Friday’s ceremony and talked about how he was drawn to Wayne.
“The programs offered here provide students a good balance of industrial technology classes, business classes, hands on learning experiences, service learning projects and internship opportunities,” Aschoff said.
The new CAT building gives students the opportunity to work with technology and equipment that they would use in today’s job market, he said.
“The new Center for Applied Technology reflects the college’s commitment to its students,” Aschoff said. “This investment in training and education will benefit students for years to come.”