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July 31, 2013

Wayne State breaks ground on new facility in Warren

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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On July 24, officials from Wayne State University joined Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and other leaders to celebrate the beginning of construction at Wayne State’s future Advanced Technology Education Center on 12 Mile, west of Hayes.

WARREN — Officials representing Wayne State University and Macomb Community College said the roots of their educational partnership stretch back 30 years, to the beginning of the college’s Macomb University Center in Clinton Township.

The partnership has continued through collaborative efforts, fueled by grant funding, to develop the vehicles and manufacturing technologies of tomorrow.

Those efforts will have a new home beginning in the fall of 2014, when Wayne State expects to open its new Advanced Technology Education Center on 12 Mile Road, west of Hayes, in Warren.

Dignitaries representing the university, the college, Macomb County and the city of Warren took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking July 24, marking the beginning of construction for the $12 million, 40,000-square-foot facility.

Gary S. Pollard, vice chair of Wayne State University’s Board of Governors, said the university would use the ATEC to further achieve its mission of providing students with access to higher education through creative initiatives.

“This facility will offer students from across the county and surrounding areas the opportunity to obtain four-year degrees in high-demand academic programs, such as engineering, computer science, business, advanced manufacturing and other disciplines, while providing collaborative opportunities with area businesses,” Pollard said.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts applauded the investment at the 3.5-acre site of a long-shuttered Farmer Jack store as a potential lure to new investments in the city.

“Finally, we have a four-year university in Warren,” Fouts said. “I think it’s going to be a big selling point to entice new businesses to come to Warren and Macomb County.”

A fact sheet prepared by Wayne State said continued collaboration could allow the university and the college to “create an electric vehicle technologies center of excellence” where faculty and students could fully engage in the development and delivery of cutting-edge automotive technologies.

Macomb Community College President Jim Jacobs said the ATEC would take that collaboration to a “new level.”

“Really, this is the deepening of a relationship that has been in existence for 30 years,” Jacobs said. “We’re here today to celebrate the Advanced Technology Education Center that will enhance our local access to well-crafted pathways to career fields of both promise and demand — promise for our students, demand in the county — and we’re celebrating that continuing deepening of ties between the two institutions.”

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, a graduate of both Wayne State and Macomb Community College, said the continued collaboration means “Macomb County does have a four-year institution.”

“It starts with Macomb Community College, one of the greatest two-year institutions in the entire country, and it is continuing with Wayne State University and their presence here that we’re seeing today,” Hackel said.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.