New Muskegon Community College center offers exciting new opportunities

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PHOTOS BY JEANNE VOLLMER

By Cynthia Price

There is something exciting for almost everyone in the new Carolyn I. and Peter Sturrus Technology Center in downtown Muskegon, an extension of Muskegon Community College (MCC).

The center will of course benefit students, who are now able to access state-of-the-art equipment; employers will have a much more proficient pool to meet their work needs.

And the downtown area is just one step closer to excellence, with the Sturrus Center filling the vacant  Muskegon Chronicle building.

But wait, there’s more! Another building, the former Masonic Temple, will also be repurposed, and inventors and start-up businesses may reap the benefits of that, paying a membership fee to bring their ideas to fruition. The Rooks|Sarnicola Entrepreneur Institute will host the college’s Entrepreneurial Program.

The new tech facility was made possible by a gift from Peter Sturrus, whose wife Carolyn Iversen Sturrus was assistant to various presidents of MCC from 1951 to 1984. Mr. Sturrus, a former president and current vice-chair/co-owner of Shape Corp., gave the largest gift MCC ever received when he donated $1.5 million towards the new building.

The Entrepreneur Institute takes its name from Jonathan Rooks, who gifted the Masonic building outright, and Nick and Ashley Sarnicola, who created an endowment that will offer a $10,000 cash  award for the best business idea generated by an MCC entrepreneurial program graduate.

In addition, the Institute houses the Richard and Ann Kraft Rapid Prototype Center, also called the Lakeshore Fab Lab. A gift from MCC alumnus Richard Kraft as well as funding from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County has made it possible to access 3-D printers, mini-mills, robotics, laser etching and vinyl making capabilities for prototyping and “making.”

The ribbon-cutting open house Jan. 11 was attended by hundreds of people from the greater Muskegon area. MCC President Dale K. Nesbary  emceed, and Board Chair Donald Crandall, MD, joined Peter Sturrus and other speakers.
There were many other donors, and in fact the community as a whole can take credit. It was as a result of the $24 million millage county voters approved in 2013 that the venue could be purchased at all.

 The Sturrus Technology Center houses Applied Technology programs in CAD, Electronics/Automation, Engineering, Machining, Metal Casting, Materials, and Welding, as well as the Experiential Learning Program detailed in a past Examiner.

 

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