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MCC's new Engineering Technology building to be celebrated with Oct. 6 groundbreaking ceremony

September 24, 2020
By Tim Engle

MCC-Penn Valley Engineering Technology Building

Metropolitan Community College will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 6, for its new Engineering Technology building on the MCC-Penn Valley campus.

The 1 p.m. ceremony will be held in person for a limited number of attendees — near Carter Art Center on the south side of the Penn Valley campus, 33rd Street and Southwest Trafficway —and streamed live as well.

The $7.2 million Engineering Technology addition will adjoin Penn Valley's Carter Art Center and the Physical Education building. The project, which includes renovation of existing space, is expected to be completed by fall 2021.

The two-story facility will house classrooms and labs, MCC's FabLab maker space, an outdoor covered work yard for large (or dirty) FabLab projects, a 3-D printing lab, and the Burns & McDonnell Design Innovation Lab.

"This new space is just another sign of Metropolitan Community College's commitment to training the Kansas City workforce," says MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty. "Our engineering technology program is so highly regarded that employers offer jobs to many of our graduates before they've even finished their degree. Demand in this field is great, especially in Kansas City."

The MCC engineering technology (ETEC) program prepares students for jobs as drafters, designers and engineering technicians at companies such as Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Kiewit, Power Engineers and Evergy. Their MCC coursework includes training in engineering graphics, the most popular CADD (computer-aided drafting and design) software packages, and introductory mechanical and architectural design.

The engineering technology program will be relocating from MCC's Business & Technology campus, where it was launched in 2008.

MCC-Penn Valley President Tyjaun Lee says the ETEC program's change in location, from near Interstate 435 and Front Street to midtown KC, will make it accessible to more students from throughout Greater Kansas City. Public transportation options will include RideKC buses as well as the streetcar line, which is expanding south of Union Station. The Penn Valley location will also be more central to ETEC industry partners.

MCC-Penn Valley Engineering Technology Building

Lee expects to see synergy among engineering technology students and their new Penn Valley neighbors in Carter Art Center. It makes sense, she says, for MCC's ETEC, art and graphic design programs to be close to one another and to the FabLab and 3-D printing/prototyping lab.

"We're excited that MCC-Penn Valley will have this new, modern space for the College's ETEC program and for other programs and community use," Lee says. "It will reflect the cutting-edge nature and constant innovation you see in the world of engineering technology."

She's not the only person excited at Penn Valley. "It will be nice having ETEC students communing with our design and art students," says Darlene Town, graphic design coordinator and art instructor. "There are so many opportunities for collaboration and collective creativity." One example: space in Engineering Technology could allow display of larger, heavier art installations that wouldn't work in the Carter Art Center Gallery next door.

ETEC coordinator and instructor Marcus Million says the MCC program is built around staying current with industry practices and trends. "We update our software packages every two years, and students use workstations with dual monitors, set up as they'll see in real workplaces." He also notes that ETEC faculty bring real-world experience into the classroom — many work in the field during the day but have a passion for teaching.

MCC offers several ETEC associate degrees and certificate options.

Hollis + Miller Architects designed the Engineering Technology project for Metropolitan Community College. The general contractor is McCownGordon Construction.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers of the 1 p.m. Oct. 6 groundbreaking are encouraging community members and MCC employees to attend remotely. 

RSVP by emailing pv.president@mcckc.edu (indicate either in-person or virtual). A Zoom link will be sent to individuals who indicate they will attend virtually. Face coverings and social distancing are required for everyone on the MCC campuses. Most classes this semester are being taught remotely.

The last major construction project at Metropolitan Community College was the Malcolm T. Wilson Enrollment Center, also on the Penn Valley campus, dedicated in October 2012. Shortly before that, the College purchased and undertook an extensive renovation of the building that became MCC's Health Science Institute, at 3444 Broadway. Opened in 2010, HSI is home to MCC's nursing and allied health programs and Virtual Hospital.

More construction projects are on the horizon as workforce programs at MCC-Business & Technology move to locations accessible to more students. A building at 2944 Troost Ave. is being transformed into MCC's state-of-the-art manufacturing training center, and new facilities are also planned for the MCC-Blue River campus in Independence.

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