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World class Applied Technology building to be completed in Fall

A conceptualization of the new Applied Technologies Building.

A conceptualization of the new Applied Technologies Building.

By Alvin Wilson

After ten months of construction, Chemeketa’s new Applied Technology building is nearly completed.

The new building will make vast improvements to the Drafting, Machining, and Engineering programs at Chemeketa, according to Phil Wright, Chemeketa’s director of facilities and operations/ capital projects.

“This new building will facilitate many improvements to these programs, not the least of which is nurturing increased synergy and broader program exposure across the programs,” he said.

“The benefits of this new building spans to many programs, but most importantly, will provide exceptional learning opportunities in an extraordinary learning environment.”

Wright also said a primary focus for the building was increased visibility.

“The new building was built around a concept of ‘learning on display’, which promotes greater visibility into the fascinating activities of these programs… CNC machining, 3D CAD modeling, 3D Printing and Rapid Prototype, Rat Trap Powered Vehicles.”

Mike Kelly, the chair of Chemeketa’s Drafting Technology program, is excited about getting a new building.

“We’d always dreamed of a better facility, so we’re really excited to be able to teach in what we’re calling a ‘world class facility’. This new building is going to have some of the best teaching and learning environments on campus,” he said.

Increased visibility is one aspect of the building that Kelly is looking forward to.

“Part of the problem is that people around campus don’t know what we do, and so this building is going to give us the improved visibility so people can see this learning on display,” he said.

“There’s going to be a lot of glass so students visiting this building will be able to see some of that learning. It’s a great way for the rest of the campus to see some of the exciting technologies going on in there.”

One of the technologies that Kelly’s department will use in the new building is 3D printing, or Rapid Prototyping.

3D printers build a model of a design, allowing the students in the drafting program to see their projects come to life.

“The word ‘prototype’ indicates that you’re going to have a prototype feature that you can physically look at and move to see how it’s going to behave,” Kelly said.

Having a physical copy of their designs allows students to spot potential flaws in their designs.

Another new technology used in the facility will be 3D scanning – devices that capture a digital model of real-world objects so that they can be modeled or 3D printed.

Carmen Watkins, a drafting instructor at Chemeketa, said, “3D scanning and printing are important counterparts to each other – both are being used more and more in industry. We want our students to be equipped with these tools so that they are ready with what employers want.”

Kelly believes that in addition to increased visibility, cooperation between the departments in the building will improve the learning environment.

“We truly believe that this is a world class facility, and being in the same building as engineering and manufacturing is key. This new building is going to allow for integrated learning environments with other departments.”

Esteban Vallejo is a first-year student in the drafting program. He will be among the first generation of students who get to use the new building.

He said the thing he’s most looking forward to is increased lab sizes.

“I know we’re going to have double computer screens, and the labs will be a lot bigger. I like it the way it is in building four. If I like it here, I can’t imagine how I’ll like it when it’s bigger. I’m curious to see how it will work out.”

Vallejo has noticed a problem with the visibility in building 4.

“I’ve seen people get curious, but they can’t really see in here.”

And he said he won’t mind people watching him once things become more visible.

“I have no problem with it. I know it will bring attention to the drafting program, which is good because that’s something that people don’t really pay attention to.”

James Morgan, a second-year drafting technology major, won’t be attending Chemeketa when the building is completed, but he thinks the added visibility will benefit the programs in the building.

“I think it will be nice for showing people around the campus … If you have a question about what it’s like, you can see how it’s done. They can give a tour and talk, and not disturb the students at all,” he said.

Ryan Sharp, also a second-year drafting technology major, agreed that the visibility will help.

“I always want to share what I’m doing with everyone,” he said.

“It wouldn’t bother me at all. If someone can come and see how certain things work in an industry environment, then that’s great. I hope it piques their interest.”

The new building will be located on the northernmost side of campus, near buildings 33 and 39.

Sharp doesn’t think the distance from the rest of campus will be a deterring factor.

“I don’t think it would be a big deal. It just depends on if you make your schedule conducive to getting to class on time. I hope it wouldn’t deter anyone from enrolling in this program, because it’s great.”

Morgan said he recognized the distance as an issue some time ago.

“I’ve been giving some of the instructors a hard time about that. You’re out there in building 20 and you have a math class in building 8, you gotta hoof it,” he said.

But he doesn’t think it will stop anyone who is determined.

“If that’s going to deter you from being in the program, then you shouldn’t be in the program.”

Kelly is hopeful that the new building will draw needed attention to the programs.

“We’re always looking for new students to recruit into both our engineering and our drafting technology programs,” he said. “Trying to get students engaged in this whole 3D world is very important to us.”

The building is expected to be finished by Fall, 2015, but it is not the last construction project planned for Chemeketa.

According to Phil Wright, the remodeling of building 4 will continue throughout the summer.

“There’s more to come. This will be a busy summer with many small remodel and repair projects, but the biggest of those projects is the final phase of the Building 4 Remodel … as well as a reconstruction of the Building 4 restrooms,” he said.

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