“We have stepped up several years in terms of how current the technology is,” said Allan Gentry, technology department chair and assistant professor. “Students are excited. I think they see what we are teaching is more relevant to what they will find in the industry. Instructors are getting more excited, as well.”
Technology professors at CSCC have been working for seven years to update the department. The current curriculum is up-to-date and new machines have been ordered. Students will have the opportunity to use plasma cutters, robotics, and build a working assembly line within the recently added building.
The recent addition is connected at the end of the pre-existing department building. Gentry said the new building was purposefully modeled after the industry look. This includes an open room with light filtering in through the numerous windows. The building stands complete after meeting its mid-September deadline.
“It is kind of like every day you drive up the road and say, ‘Wow, we got it done.’ It’s an incredible sense of accomplishment. To know it is here and to know what it is going to do for folks,” Gentry said, “I don’t think we can even fathom how much good it can do.”
Gentry said the faculty at Cleveland State is more than equipped to prepare students for the industry.
“Most of our faculty have worked in industry, so we are bringing here what we know in industry and what we have seen. We think this is what they are going to need ...” Gentry said. “We could have continued to teach history like we were, but that would not be meeting anyone’s needs.”
Charles Barkley, John Hannah, Charlie Womac, and David Laman were Gentry’s cohorts in designing an updated technology department at CSCC.
“That is pretty much our crew. It’s a good group of folks,” Gentry said. “We have all consulted and collaborated about what works and what does not. We have made decisions on what is needed and what needs to go.”
Motorized blinds cover the windows in the new building to adjust the amount of light needed. There is an occupancy monitor on the lights to control when they are on or off. The building looks ready for dedication. Small, round tables with white tablecloths sit where an assembly line and robotics will soon take residence.
“We will have robots here,” Gentry said with an extended arm. “Some tabletop machines will be in the center and the assembly line down on the end. We will have a standalone robot trainer in one corner and a plasma corner device in the corner with work benches and tables.”
Liberal ‘kudos’ were given by Gentry to the construction company J&J.
“They are the construction company that pulled everyone together and kept us on track. They started late, worked hard, and brought it together,” Gentry said. “Right from the get-go we were worried we were not going to be finished in time. They pulled it all together and we are proud of everything they have done.”
This evening at 5 p.m. the Technology Center Addition will be dedicated. According to Holly Trotter-Vincent, CSCC public information coordinator, Gov. Bill Haslam will be unable to attend. The last time Gentry was involved in a dedication, Mayor Tom Rowland was greatly impressed. Today’s dedication will reveal if Gentry can outdo himself.