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February 20, 2013

Wayne State eyes new tech education center in Warren

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Wayne State University plans to open a $12 million Advanced Technology Education Center on a 3.5-acre site on 12 Mile Road west of Hayes that was once home to a Farmer Jack store.

WARREN — Officials at Wayne State University have announced plans to build a $12-million technology education center across the street from Macomb Community College’s South Campus.

According to a statement released by the university, Wayne State’s Board of Governors approved the issuance of bonds to partially fund construction of the new Advanced Technology Education Center on a 3.5-acre site on 12 Mile west of Hayes. The planned 40,000-square-foot facility will reportedly involve renovating a vacant building that once housed a Farmer Jack store.

“We are excited about implementing this next phase of the university’s education strategy in Macomb County, which will serve as a center of excellence and a national model for university-community college partnerships,” said Ahmad Ezzeddine, Wayne State’s vice president of educational outreach and international programs. “We look forward to working with our partners at Macomb Community College and the Macomb business community to develop and offer educational research programs that meet the talent and work force needs of Macomb and the state of Michigan.”

The university plans to offer a four-year degree program at the new ATEC center in various disciplines — including engineering, computer science, business and advanced manufacturing — and collaborations with local businesses are already being envisioned.

One such effort, according to a university release, will focus on the research, development and delivery of electric and automotive battery technologies through an “electric vehicles technologies center of excellence,” created by Wayne State and MCC faculty.

The university’s release said the ATEC is currently still in the design phase and that no construction date was set.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said the development would replace an unoccupied space with another “high-level” educational environment that would augment MCC.

“Macomb Community College is recognized as one of the top community colleges in the area. Hopefully this will lead to the first high-caliber, high-level four-year university in the city,” Fouts said. “It’s a winning situation all around.

“I’ve had complaints from Warren residents about what an eyesore Farmer Jack has been.  Now we’re going to eliminate an eyesore with a high-level educational environment.”