West Burlington’s Auto Collision Lab and Precision & CNC Machining Lab underwent a million-dollar renovation over the summer.
Precision Machining & CNC Technology Instructor Brad Junker is proud of the new facility and loves to share his passion for the machining program and how its grads go on to make an often overlooked impact in today’s world.
“Your cell phone was made in a mold shop. Your toothbrush was made in a mold shop,” Junker said. “Equipment like ours creates parts and pieces that go together. This updated lab will give our students real-world experience before they even step into a work setting.”
Renovations in the lab include high-efficiency lighting, epoxy floor treatment, new band saws, and an upgraded computer lab.
Additionally, the equipment floorplan was realigned for improved
instruction and safety.
The facelift of the Auto Collision Lab included similar upgrades such as high-efficiency lighting, epoxy floor treatment, and improved equipment placement. An air compressor and materials storage system were also added to the space.
Auto Collision Assistant Professor Tim Weaver shared his excitement about how this update will impact students.
“This transformation is especially important now, as the industry experiences a shortage in technicians. A lab like this gives students the most updated experience to set themselves up for a rewarding career that they can do for life.”
Assistant Professor Randy Wachter started his career decades ago as a student in the very same lab where he now teaches the next generation of technicians.
Looking around at the mixture of modern vehicles and vintage cars in the brightly lit lab, Wachter mentioned that the program’s main focus is fixing cars of any age so they’re good as new.
“We need new technology to maintain the old cars as much as we need it to fix current models,” he reflected. “This is a culmination of modern technology and old school cool.”
Dean of Career and Technical Education Dr. Ashlee Spannagel is grateful to industry partners who consulted with planners so that each lab featured the same equipment used in today’s facilities.
“If they weren’t here guiding us and providing us with wisdom about what is needed in today’s shops, we wouldn’t be able to serve our students and do them justice or, in the end, meet the needs of our area employers and businesses.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Janet Shepherd shared her pride and let a secret slip.
“It is an exciting time for us. I have to admit, there were times when I’d come out to the shops when no one was here. I just came in and look around because it really has been quite a transformation,” she smiled. “We’re excited for our students.”
Learn more about SCC’s Precision Machining and Automotive Collision Repair and Restoration programs at http://www.scciowa.edu.