Upgrades at KCC’s Eastern Academic Center campus in Albion to be complete this spring

KCC's Eastern Academic Center in Albion.

Kellogg Community College this spring will complete $1.75 million worth of upgrades and renovations to the College’s Eastern Academic Center campus in Albion, significantly expanding educational services and training opportunities for students in eastern Calhoun County.

Renovations at the center – located at 14055 26 Mile Road – began in September 2019 and are expected to be complete late this spring. Projects underway include the College’s EAC Career and Technical Education (CTE) Renovation Project, encompassing the creation of new welding and mechatronics labs, as well as significant upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems at the center and a 300-square-foot addition to accommodate the new utilities. An additional expansion of the existing Nursing Assistant Training (CNA) lab was completed in January.

KCC Vice President for Instruction Dr. Paul Watson said the project was intentionally designed by the College and community partners to expand access to proven CTE pathways provided by KCC in partnership with K-12 schools. Discussions are also underway with local manufacturers about the possibility of providing customized training for local workers via the EAC’s new technical facilities.

“The Career and Technical Education Renovation Project and other upgrades at the Eastern Academic Center are a great example of KCC’s continuing efforts to respond to the evolving needs of our communities and being present on our communities,” Watson said. “The College understands the needs of modern industry and business, and it’s through innovative approaches like the CTE project that KCC, along with our regional partners, is able to continue to respond to training and education needs both quickly and efficiently.”

Two general purpose classrooms at the EAC were converted to make space for the new 1,300-square-foot welding lab and 900-square-foot mechatronics lab. The welding lab includes eight welding stations and associated equipment to expand KCC’s welder training into eastern Calhoun County. For the expanded CNA space, the existing CNA lab was combined with an adjacent classroom to create a single 660-square-foot lab space.

The cost of the renovations is split among a number of collaborative partners, with KCC covering just under half – $865,000 – of the total project budget through the College’s 21st Century capital millage fund. The rest of the project is funded through grants from organizations including Marshall’s Cronin Foundation ($600,000) and federal Perkins funding ($185,000).

A key partner in the project since its inception has been Marshall Public Schools, which has a long history of working with KCC on joint educational initiatives at the EAC and which assisted KCC in securing funding for the project from the Cronin Foundation.

Marshall, in 2015, was one of the first school districts to partner with KCC on the College’s growing early college initiative, and for several years the center provided classroom space for students enrolled at the Marshall Opportunity School. Ben Wallace, Marshall Opportunity High School principal and director of the Eastern Calhoun Early College initiative, provides administrative support for Marshall Public Schools at the EAC during the school day.

Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Randy Davis said the enhancements at the center will be “absolutely huge” for students in eastern Calhoun County. The district hopes the Opportunity School students, in particular, will benefit from a pathway approach that would put them through early college programming and KCC certification courses, with more than a dozen regional manufacturing organizations ready and waiting to hire.

“Our expectation is that our kids are going to receive some form of two-year degree in CTE from KCC, leading them to viable careers in the region in manufacturing,” Davis said. “It’s important for our young people to take courses at KCC, and for our young and older adults to have this resource in Calhoun County. We’re very pleased with our partnership and we’re excited to continue working with KCC on the CTE pathways initiative.”

In anticipation of the new facilities at the EAC, Marshall began work of its own adding CTE-related equipment and software at its own campus locations, Davis said, and has already added a manufacturing path to its early college track for high school students who want to begin college classes early and pursue a manufacturing or skilled trades certification at KCC.

Watson said it’s partnerships like these that enable the College to continue its work for the benefit of students, especially for students in outlying areas of the service district.

“KCC is proud of the strong partnerships the College continues to develop and maintain with our regional educational partners, community and manufacturing organizations, and we work hard to innovate and renovate our programs and facilities to meet the community’s needs and exceed their expectations,” Watson said. “It is through these strong partnerships that the College accomplishes its mission of providing accessible, high-quality education to enrich the communities within our service region and the lives of individual learners.”

About the EAC

The EAC, KCC’s newest regional center campus, opened in the fall of 2001. The approximately 20,000-square-foot facility’s last major upgrade was in 2014, when a $1 million expansion project added three classrooms, a seminar room and office space to accommodate enrollment growth in the Albion and Marshall areas of KCC’s service district. In addition to the new labs, the current facility consists of several classrooms, a testing room, computer lab and student lounge to offer KCC classes and services to residents of eastern Calhoun County in a location convenient for students in outlying areas of the College’s service district.

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