OE Building Renovations Underway
Work begins this month on the much anticipated updates to WCC’s Occupational Education building. Built in 1982 for the College’s vocational programs, the OE building will receive extensive mechanical upgrades, new lighting and ceiling fixtures throughout, and an infusion of green technology, including the addition of 200 geothermal wells and a partial vegetative rooftop.
“We’re renovating OE from top to bottom,” said Associate Vice President Damon Flowers. “Most of the changes to the building will be behind the scenes, people won’t really notice them. The geothermal wells will allow us to use the earth for heating and cooling, which removes the building from the mechanical system that currently provides it. We’ll also put a highly reflective material on the roof in areas that won’t be covered by the vegetation. A mezzanine level will be added to the one-story structure to create a student lounge area, and an elevator will be installed to provide accessibility to it.”
According to Flowers, the hallways and wall space will receive an artistic face-lift to better distinguish the academic disciplines taught in those locations. For example, the walls outside the welding classrooms will be brightly tiled and feature an artistic “spark,” while a black-and-white checkerboard design inspired by a racing flag and bright red flames popular on custom cars will showcase the automotive area.
The renovations will be done in three phases over the next year to allow instruction to continue in the building as long as possible. The work should be completed by August 2011.
Funding for the project comes from $14.8 million in bonds requested from the state by WCC in 2008. The College’s Skilled Trades Annex, which once served as the campus shipping and receiving depot, will receive $1.3 million of the allocation for renovations. That work will relocate the Henry S. Landau Residential Construction program to campus from its current site in Ypsilanti.