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Aiken Technical College Breaks Ground on Center for Energy & Advanced Manufacturing

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Photo: Honored guests participated in Aiken Technical College’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the future Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing on Thursday.  Pictured left to right: Fred Humes, Director Emeritus of the Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership and Chair of ATC’s Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign; State Rep. J. Roland Smith; Dr. Susan Winsor, ATC President; Carlos Garcia, Aiken County Commission for Technical and Comprehensive Education Chair; John Stewart, ATC Foundation Chair and Bridgestone Aiken County Plant Manager; H. Philip Paradice, Jr., director of the Atlanta office of the U.S. Economic Development Administration; and Gable Stubbs, architect with McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture.


(July 17, 2014, Aiken, SC)   Community, government, and industry leaders joined Aiken Technical College on Thursday to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of the College’s state-of-the-art Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing, a facility that will enable the College to continue providing Aiken County citizens with the highest quality nuclear and manufacturing training. 
 
The 36,000-square-foot, $8.5 million facility, designed by Greenville-based firm McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, will house ATC’s mechatronics, welding, radiation protection technology and nuclear quality systems programs, and will contain bays (labs), classrooms, a multi-use training space, and faculty offices.    


The building’s flexible design will allow for easy changeover between spaces to accommodate evolving training needs in the future. 
 
“From its inception, the vision for this Center was more than just the construction of another building on campus.  The Center is designed to be a focal point for the economic revitalization occurring in our county,” said ATC President Dr. Susan Winsor.  “The Center will reflect our community’s commitment to bring high-paying careers to our area, and to ensure that the workforce available for local business is of the highest caliber.”
 
ATC received tremendous financial support from a variety of sources to make the facility a reality.  In 2012, ATC received a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.  The grant required $2 million in matching funds from outside sources, and the ATC Foundation developed the Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign to help raise this amount. 
 
Putting Knowledge to Work Chair Fred Humes, Director Emeritus of the Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership, thanked those who generously contributed to the campaign for their investment in the region’s future. 
 
“Those who follow us for decades to come will praise the investment we have made in our children, our workforce and our community,” said Humes.  “We are not only building today’s workforce, but developing needed skills for generations to come.”
 
Industry and community partners were instrumental in helping ATC raise funds to construct the Center. Contributors to the Putting Knowledge to Work capital campaign represented a variety of industries including nuclear, manufacturing, healthcare and more, as well as civic organization and private donors.   To date, the College has reached $1.88 million of the $2 million goal.
 
The campaign’s largest contribution was generously made by Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and the Bridgestone Trust, which have collectively contributed $250,000 toward the new facility.
 
“The Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing is a facility, along with the talent of Aiken Technical College’s faculty and staff, that can help meet local industry needs and attract new companies to our area,” said John Stewart, Bridgestone Aiken County Plant Manager and Chairman of the ATC Foundation Board of Trustees.  “The Bridgestone family is proud to have been involved in supporting this effort from the very beginning, and we look forward to hiring the graduates who will complete their training here.”
 
In addition to the Putting Knowledge to Work campaign, ATC received support from the Aiken County Legislative Delegation through a $2.445 million allocation secured for the Center during the 2012 legislative session.
 
During Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. Susan Winsor thanked the Aiken County Legislative Delegation for its support of ATC and presented Representative J. Roland Smith with a proclamation in recognition of his service to the community and his impact on the progress of ATC and Aiken County.  Rep. Smith’s advocacy, along with that of the entire Aiken County Legislative Delegation and former Senator Greg Ryberg, in recent years has helped ATC procure more than $2.4 million for the construction of the CEAM building, and additional monies for much needed campus improvements. 
 
Also in attendance at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony were H. Philip Paradice, Jr., director of the Atlanta regional office of the U.S. Economic Development Administration; Mr. Gable Stubbs, architect with McMillan Pazdan Smith; State Rep. J. Roland Smith; State Rep. Bill Clyburn; State Rep. Don Wells; State Senator Tom Young, and State Senator Shane Massey.   
 
Construction of the new Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing is slated for completion before the fall 2015 semester begins in August 2015.

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