State approves proposal to renovate Jacobetti Complex

State+approves+proposal+to+renovate+Jacobetti+Complex

Sophie Hillmeyer

A capital outlay proposal is moving forward after approval for a $28.6 million renovation of the Career and Technology Center, or the Jacobetti Complex, in December and the project is in the planning stages.

There are many steps in beginning a capital outlay project, Gavin Leach, vice president of finance and administration said, and the initial steps include engaging an architect and going through programming and schematics. He said they are hoping to begin that within the next month.

“[If] you don’t have those first steps you can’t go anywhere,” Leach said. “We’re excited about it, we think it can make some huge changes in the program that will be impacted by the project.”

Capital outlay projects are issued to universities and community colleges each year after they submit a proposal for the project that is the top priority for the institution, Leach said. He said that NMU has been ranked high for receiving a capital outlay project this past year and they worked hard downstate to make sure the proposal was seen as important to not only the university but the region as a whole.

“We want to continue to make NMU a go-to place for people in the region and people out of the region for our programs,” Leach said. “As we continue to transform the university, I think [capital outlay projects] move us forward in the future in creating attractive programs that meet the future needs of the workforce and of our students.”

Past capital outlay projects at NMU include Jamrich Hall, Weston Hall, previously known as New Science and the renovation of Hedgcock and the Art and Design building.

“We’ve had very positive results on past projects, like Jamrich Hall, which was huge for the campus. We’ve had very successful and strategic capital outlay projects and it’s really helped the campus and our programs over the years,” Leach said. “We believe this one will have a similar positive impact on campus.”

The plans for the renovation include modernizing the facility with new, more flexible classroom spaces, new equipment and technology training tools to help meet the needs of the skilled workforce in the region, he said. He added that the facility was built in 1980 and the programs have changed significantly since then.

“I think it’s going to have a really big impact on the students, on the campus, and on the region as a result of the project,” Leach said. “You think about it and it impacts the future for your students, impacts the faculty, the community, it creates jobs during construction. It’s a very positive impact on the community as a whole.”

There have been talks of relocating the facility completely, Leach said, and right now the project has been approved for renovation, but other options may arise throughout the planning process.

He added that the plans for Jamrich Hall changed significantly during the planning process and the project ended up adding new space instead of renovating old space.

“We look at what is the absolute best use of dollars for the space that we have when we go through a project and what makes the most sense for the university and the programs,” he said. “We’ll move expeditiously on it because we want to definitely move forward on the project. We’re really excited about it.”