Mike Feutz, HVACR department chairman, points out some of the unique features of the soon-to-be-dedicated Granger Center for Construction and HVACR.
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - It was time to polish the metal, unload streams of glass cleaner on the many panes of glass, and roll out the red carpet. The occasion was a formal walk-through of the new HVACR and Construction Center building on the campus of Ferris State University (FSU).

HVACR Department Chairman Mike Feutz played host to members of the HVACR Department Advisory Committee, who were treated to a tour of the

new facility and interviews with FSU HVACR students. The event was part of the group's semiannual business meeting.

Feutz pointed out several unique design features of the building, including the easy-to-view mechanical systems. Since the students study building mechanical systems in their normal coursework, the building is designed

with all mechanical systems behind clear Plexiglas. The systems are also color-coded for easy identification.

The three floors of the building are heated by different systems, including geothermal heating, radiant heating, and VAV diffusers. There is also a snowmelt system under the entrance walkway.

Feutz introduced committee members to John Tomczyk, who is in charge of the commercial refrigeration lab, and Eric Quilitzsch, who runs the controls laboratory - a high-tech classroom equipped with computer stations for each student that can be used for programming systems over the Internet.

Industry Helps Out

Feutz noted that equipment donations from manufacturers have been filling up the labs, to the point where many pieces have been placed in storage until a spot can be found for them in classrooms.

"The industry has been very kind to us," Feutz said, expressing thanks for some $300,000 in lab equipment donations and $1.56 million in cash donations received so far.

Feutz also discussed some of the financial donations that have been made in conjunction with naming all or part of the new facility. The Granger Construction Company, the facility architect, gave a personal gift of $1 million to the department, and the facility will be named the Granger Center for Construction and HVACR. He noted that other donations that would involve naming a portion of the building are still available, and that organizations can sponsor a wing of the building, as well as a specific lab or classroom.

"Granger has bent over backward to work with us," said Feutz. "They are constructing a building that will be used by their own trade. They want it right."

The HVACR department will continue to emphasize its Internet distance learning program. Feutz said that the HVACR department is the first school at FSU to offer a complete online program.

"The Internet program has been huge," he stated. "Over 900 people have applied for the program, and we have been able to qualify 48 so far."

Future plans include hosting the annual Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) instructor workshop, teaming up with the Michigan Chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (MIACCA) to start a student recruitment program, and running a "media blitz" in order to spread the word about the new facility.

Upcoming events will include the official dedication of the building.

For more information, visit www.ferris.edu.

Publication date: 11/17/2003