Ferris State seeks support for new building funding

BIG RAPIDS, MI — The clock is ticking and the wheels that turn government spending policies are beginning to turn again. That could be good news for the hvacr program at Ferris State University (FSU).

If there is industry support, plans for a new HVACR Educational Center at FSU could proceed through the Michigan House of Representatives. Senate Bill 968 (S-1) includes language that authorizes FSU to begin planning the new building under the State Building Authority.

The last attempt to approve funding for planning was line-item-vetoed by Michigan Governor John Engler. However, supporters of this new Supplemental Appropriation bill are hopeful that it will pass the Michigan House after having been approved by the Michigan Senate on March 23.

According to FSU, there are several reasons why the hvacr trade should get behind this bill:

  • There is an extreme shortage of qualified technicians in the hvacr trade, which has a limiting effect on growth of many contractors’ businesses.
  • More than 25 jobs await each graduate of the FSU program, where placement levels have been at 100% for several years.
  • Enrollment in the FSU program rose 37% between 1993 and 1998; in fall 1999, 135 students were enrolled in the program and projections are for 262 students by 2010.
  • The students are presently in crowded classrooms and laboratories; a new, state-of-the-art facility could accommodate new students in an improved learning environment.
  • Finally, FSU is renowned for being a premier teaching facility for the hvacr trade with an active and well-organized Student Chapter of the Mechanical Service Contractors of America.

Contractors, manufacturers, vendors, and other interested parties are urged to contact their own State Representative or Senator, regardless of what state they are from, and ask them to support Michigan Senate Bill 968 (S-1).

The Michigan House was scheduled to return from a break on April 10. The appropriation bill was scheduled to be one of the first items to be considered. According to hvacr program coordinator Mike Feutz, the timing is very important.

“They [the House] may have already acted on it after their break,” he said. “But we still need everyone’s support.”

A sample letter and e-mail are included in Figure 1 above for people interested in contacting their Representative or Senator.

For more information, contact Mike Feutz at feutzm@ferris.edu (e-mail) or 231-591-2492 (fax).

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