A drawing of Ferris State University's Hvacr and Construction Technology Center.
BIG RAPIDS, MI — The future of hvacr education took a giant leap forward on May 10, 2002, thanks to the groundbreaking of the Hvacr and Construction Technology Center at Ferris State University (FSU).

The ceremonial event for the state-of-the art facility was attended by more than 200 members of the FSU “family” — faculty, administrators, students, trustees, politicians, and interested citizens.

“This facility will set Ferris State University in the leadership role of the hvacr and construction trades,” said FSU president William A. Sederberg. The ceremonies included speeches from a number of prominent people, including Michigan state Sen. Joanne Emmons (23rd District), who played a pivotal role in getting funding for the new building. Emmons serves as the chair of the State Finance Committee and vice chair of the Education Committee.

Sederberg joked that Emmons was “instrumental in twisting arms to get the project approved.”

“This is a premier project that students need and demanded,” Emmons said.

Barbara Chapman, FSU vice president of Academic Affairs, said, “This facility gives us the opportunity to make good programs better.”

Chuck Matrosic, interim Dean of the FSU College of Technology, thanked the faculty for their input in the entire project — which, according to Matrosic, has been quite formidable. “In my 17 years of travel throughout this trade, I have never seen a facility like this,” he said.


The $18 million project will include a 45,000-sq-ft addition to the existing Construction Technology Center.

FSU is committed to funding $4.5 million of the project. Donations of cash and equipment for the building’s systems and teaching laboratories are being solicited from industry, alumni, and friends of the programs.

The architect for the new facility is Albert Kahn Associates, Inc., and the general contractor is Granger Construction Co. Both companies were represented at the groundbreaking.

The scheduled completion date is December 2003.


Jason Dempsey, a student in the FSU Hvacr Engineering Technology program, had some interesting input. Sederberg credited Dempsey for “doing a great job of selling our [hvacr] to government representatives.”

Dempsey, from San Diego, CA, could have gone to any of several hvacr training programs after finishing two years at a Southern California junior college. He chose FSU because of its reputation and because of the encouragement of Hvacr Department chairman Mike Feutz.

“I wanted to be trained up to a level where I could immediately be hired by a leading industry company and earn a decent wage,” Dempsey said. “Ferris State was exactly what I was looking for.”

Dempsey spoke about the origins of FSU and how founder Woodridge Ferris would be proud of the university today. “This new facility fills a technical void in hvacr training in the U.S.,” he said. “I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Governor John Engler and his staff for approving funding for the project.”

John Waskevich, a graduate of the Construction Management program, stated, “The past four years have been a great run for me. I strived to be the best and the Ferris State faculty encouraged me to be the best.

“Although I won’t get to use [the building], it will be a great place to come back and say, ‘Ferris is where I got my education.’”

R. Thomas Cook, chairman of the FSU Board of Trustees, summed up the new Technology Center this way: “This promises to be the premier hvacr/construction trades learning facility in the nation.”

Publication date: 06/03/2002