ATU-Ozark Cuts Ribbon on Renovated Facility

Ribbon Cutting ATU-Ozark Industrial Control Systems Building 9-1-2023
Representatives from Arkansas Tech University, local industry and the community helped cut a ceremonial ribbon marking the grand opening of the renovated Industrial Control Systems Building at ATU-Ozark Campus on Friday, Sept. 1.

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus celebrated the renovation of its Industrial Control Systems Building with a ribbon cutting and grand opening on Friday, Sept. 1.

Drew Dickey, ATU director of facilities management, told the audience gathered for the event that the renovation project focused on accessibility, aesthetics and functionality.

The scope included replacement of the roof, ceiling, floors, doors and windows; updating interior wall finishes, exterior finishes and interior lighting; adding a new entrance and creating a lobby space with updated restrooms.

“This day is very important to us because the renovation of the Industrial Control Systems Building is an example of our commitment to providing a competitive advantage to the individuals we serve and work alongside,” said Dr. Sheila Jacobs, interim chancellor and chief academic officer at ATU-Ozark Campus. “ATU-Ozark is committed to the mission of providing relevant training and education that meets the needs of industry and changes the lives of people, families and communities.”

Jacobs recognized and expressed appreciation to Bruce Sikes, who retired as ATU-Ozark chancellor on June 30, for his “vision and work on this important endeavor.”

EWI Constructors performed the renovation, which was designed by SCM Architects. The $1,149,307.56 construction contract was funded through a $1 million regional workforce grant from the Arkansas Division of Higher Education and monies from the ATU-Ozark educational and general fund.

“Higher education is changing, as we all know,” said Dr. Russell Jones, ATU acting interim president. “We all serve a part in the future of higher education. Workforce development, two-year degrees, four-year degrees…all the way up…they are all important. We are very fortunate to have ATU-Ozark Campus in our family. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Jacobs leading the charge and all the people who support her. We help people realize their potential. That’s our job. In higher education, we’re here for the students. We’re here to make their lives better. We’re here to help them see they can do more than they originally thought they could.”

Constructed in 1976, the ATU-Ozark Industrial Control Systems Building provides 6,000 square feet of space for academic programs in automation, industrial electronics and computer information technology.

“Automation is so big and so valuable to business and industry,” said Stacey McCollough, ATU-Ozark Campus workforce education faculty of automation and industrial control systems program chair. “We want to get our local population the very best education and the very best training we can in automation. We can give them a good foundation. That’s our target so they can walk into any industry they want to with their head held high and that industry knows they are getting a quality employee.”

According to information provided on the ATU-Ozark Campus website, the automation technology program “provides for a study of components, circuits, instruments and control techniques used with industrial automated systems.”

The website goes on to state that the ATU-Ozark automation technology program allows students to “develop skill sets which enable the integration of electronics, mechanics, pneumatics, hydraulics and computer controls.”

“Look at this building,” said Dexter Lekwa, plant manager for ABB in Ozark. “This is where it all starts. People can come here, learn, succeed and be prepared to go out in the field and perform. We operate 24 hours a day, five days a week building industrial electric motors. Consistently and constantly we need more people to up-skill or re-skill where they are today. That’s where this building comes into play.”

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