In September 2014, Clinton Community College received a $12.7 million grant through the SUNY 2020 challenge program to create and build the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing. It broke ground on the facility in May 2016. This week, the college updated officials on the status of construction and provided tours of the partially completed facility.
The 30,000-square foot facility will house technology programs to train students in a variety of manufacturing sectors. Director of Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Kristopher Renadette is taking a group of officials through the site. “Where we are standing right now we like to call this the High Bay area. We have 30 foot clear span ceiling in this area. The whole theme of this facility is to be as much like walking into a manufacturing facility as possible and to look, feel and to be flexible. Just building a building for today is not good enough. Building a building for fifty and a hundred years from now was the goal from the beginning.”
Renadette leads the group to the low bay area where a flexible manufacturing lab is planned. “So in here there’s two main labs. There’s a mecatronics, or mechanical technology, lab. So the term mecatronics that’s mechanical, electrical, automation controls, and computer systems kind of all into one. Students there learn all the hands on skills from hydraulics to pneumatics to electrical components, programmable logic controllers, PLC’s, robots and automation, how to troubleshoot all of those systems. That’s the type of systems that are in industry today. It better prepares them for the workforce they’re going into. The other area or key lab in here is the 3D printing lab.”
The group then heads upstairs to see future computer labs, a distance-learning conference room and manufacturing labs.
Back on the floor Empire State Development Vice President for Industry Development Mike Morse says this is what the state hopes for when it makes investments in communities. He believes this facility will be a model for manufacturing training across the state. “I don’t know of any other location in the state that has a facility like this, that will have the capabilities that this facility will have and some of the cross-training that will occur here. You’re going to have people learning high, high level computer advanced manufacturing skills while on the other side of a wall you may someone learning how to do advanced welding. And people might think yeah welding, computers that doesn’t go together. In the changing economy and in the future economy it does, it needs to. So there’s great vision here.”
Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garry Douglas quoted Winston Churchill as he spoke to the assembled crowd. “He said first we shape our buildings, thereafter our buildings shape us. And I think it particularly is true in this case. It’s going to shape us as a community, as an economic region. It is really going to help us shape the future. Clinton Community College saw and took the advice of the business community to design this building and made this exactly what the business community asked for. Two particularly non-traditional partnerships that you’re going to see I predict really blossom here: one with Clarkson University and the other with Champlain College up in Longueuil, Quebec, which is one of the primary training platforms for the transportation equipment and aerospace sector in southern Quebec. So there’s going to be some really unique things going on here.”
Clinton Community College President Ray DiPasquale reports that the building is approximately 70 percent complete. Construction is ahead of schedule and on budget. Completion is expected in May and technology programs will begin in the fall.