News: Neillsville - CVTC Breaks Ground New Building (2014)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Barker, Matthews, Bates, Ostermann, Walker, Crowe, Jahnke, Twohig, Bagley

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 9/03/2014

CVTC Breaks Ground for Energy Ed. Center (Building – 19 August 2014)

Among local leaders taking part in the groundbreaking for CVTC’s Energy Education Center Aug. 19 were (l-r) CVTC Board members Ramona Mathews, Coleen Bates and Dan Ostermann; CVTC President Bruce Barker; Gov. Scott Walker; CVTC Foundation and Alumni Director Aliesha Crowe and CVTC Foundation b=Board member Mel Jahnke. Contributed photo

The ideal classroom is not just a place where a class is held but an environment from which the student can learn through direct interaction with the surroundings. Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) broke ground Aug. 19 for construction of such a facility.

The 46,000 square-foot Energy Education Center is an expansion and renovation project that includes classrooms and labs that will improve and increase program offerings at CVTC and provide training opportunities for workers in existing and evolving energy industries.

The facility will incorporate many energy-efficient design components following LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) energy efficiency and environmentally friendly strategies. The building is designed as a learning laboratory for students, who will be able to learn with hands-on experience from the systems in use.

“The operations of the building will be tied into the instruction we give our people,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “It’s a merger of operations and instruction.”

The building and surrounding grounds will be home to the CVTC programs in electrical power distribution; air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology; agriscience technician, landscape, plant and turf management; and transportation. The programs will focus on energy technology in three areas, including energy generation, energy distribution and efficient utilization and conservation.

Gov. Scott Walker commented on the connection between energy and Wisconsin’s key economic sectors in remarks prior to the groundbreaking ceremony.

“When you think of energy, you think of manufacturing,” Walker said. “But you also think of agriculture. You look at the key industries in the state and they are very much connected here. There’s an awful lot of energy at CVTC.”

CVTC partnered with SDS Architects and Market and Johnson to plan the project using energy efficiency and environmentally friendly strategies, integrated into the design in such a way as to maximize student interaction.

“We tried to incorporate a lot of energy-efficient aspects in the building,” said architect Tom Twohig of SDS Architects. “It includes a geothermal heating and cooking system, in-floor heating and cooling energy recovery systems and a lot of natural lighting.”

The mechanical, electrical and heating and cooling systems were designed by MEP Associates of Eau Claire, which has a nationwide reputation in energy efficient projects for higher education.

“The centerpiece of the facility will be a geothermal system which takes advantage of the earth’s constant temperature to provide both heating and cooling. The systems are designed to achieve operating efficiencies up to 46 percent greater than a typical building. The building will also have a water recycling system to collect runoff water from the roof and use it for things like flushing toilets and urinals,” said CVTC Director of Facilities Rod Bagley.

The facility will include opportunities for students to learn about wind, water and solar sources of energy as well. Electrical Power Distribution students will learn about smart grid technologies and distributed energy generation

The Energy Education Center will be important to local business as well. In addition to equipping the workforce with the skills to address the demands of the evolving energy industry, the Energy Education Center will provide training to industries on energy technology to reduce costs, increase Efficiency and incorporate renewable energy.

Donations from private industries and individuals through the CVTC Foundation supported a significant portion of the approximately $10 million cost of the project, which was approved earlier this year by the CVTC Board of Trustees and by the Wisconsin Technical College System board in July. Completion is scheduled for late summer 2015.



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