LACONIA — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday morning for the newest addition to Lakes Region Community College campus, a 13,000-square-foot, $3.3 million automotive technology building.
College president Dr. Scott Kalicki said that the new building has been in the works for 10 years and will help the college strengthen its award-winning automotive program. He pointed out that one of the General Motors cars which were lined up as a backdrop for the groundbreaking was a new Chevrolet Corvette which was won for the college by LRCC General Motors Automotive Service Education Program (GM ASEP) graduate, Neal Foster, at the National SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City last year.
''LRCC has been an award-winning GM ASEP program for many, many years," said Kalicki. "Excellence is portrayed by Professors Michael Parker, Jamie Decato, and Dave Perkins, who assisted Foster in obtaining the knowledge and skills to win in Kansas City. GM recognized LRCC's GM ASEP program by awarding the new Corvette based on Foster's gold medal."
Kalicki said that the new, larger facility will also enable the college to increase its in-service training for local automotive technicians and will have 17 lifts which will help provide the kind of training students in the automotive technology program need.
The 7,100-square-foot space that will be vacated once the auto programs moves next door is earmarked for future use by the culinary program, although LRCC will first undertake design work ahead of any request for funds to do the renovations necessary to re-purpose this space. In the meantime the program will continue to operate at its present home at Canterbury Shaker Village, where LRCC operates classes and a restaurant.
He said that the ultimate goal is to return the culinary program to the campus once a commercial-grade kitchen is built.
The new building represents the first phase of the automotive technology addition according to Kalicki. He said that a second phase, which will cost abut $1.25 million, will see classrooms, offices and a showroom constructed.
Kalicki said that plans for the college to become home in the not too distant future to a mobile diesel technology program, which teaches students to diagnose, service, and repair diesel-powered trucks and equipment, are currently on hold.
Last year it was reported that the program, currently located at White Mountain Community College in Berlin, is operating at less than full capacity and is losing in excess of $100,000 a year, due mainly to the reluctance of students to travel that far north.
Last year a 2016-17 capital budget approved by the system's Board of Trustees included a $5 million appropriation for the new heavy equipment/marine/small engine building on the LRCC campus. The program will not move to Laconia until a capital appropriation has been made by the Legislature.
Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) Chancellor Dr. Ross Gittell also took part in a groundbreaking. He said that the students and the state will benefit from the project, which is one of the many ways in which the community college system partners with local communities.
CAPTION: Lakes Region Community College (LRCC) Academic Affairs Vice President Tom Goulette; college President Dr. Scott Kalicki; Automotive Department Chair Michael Parker; and Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) Chancellor Dr. Ross Gittell took part in a groundbreaking for LRCC's new 13,000-square-foot state-of-the-art Automotive Technology Building Tuesday morning.
(Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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