Student needs can now be better-met because of UCC’s new equipment and improved safety in Lockwood Hall.
Photo by J.R. Williams / The Mainstream

Anonymous donation breathes new life into Lockwood Hall

Lockwood Hall recently went through system and structural updates to accommodate the industry standards as well as better meet student needs. Technical students and teachers of Lockwood Hall had been working with insufficient or outdated equipment as well as safety issues. 

The project was made possible by an anonymous donation to the UCC Foundation according to the Foundation’s newsletter.

Lockwood Hall gained more workstations and equipment.
Photo by J.R. Williams / The Mainstream

Built in 1969, the building has had few updates in the last 50 years. It houses the automotive, electrician, industrial mechanic, welding and apprenticeship programs and has produced award winning instructors and students. Until recently, departments working out of Lockwood Hall had to rent space offsite at a rate of approximately $3,000 monthly, according to Kevin Mathwig, UCC’s new apprenticeship coordinator.  

The lobby of Lockwood Hall now has a sleek modern feel showcasing the tech programs and their successes. Con-Vey Keystone donated a Kingston HLC 2160 lathe, and the departments also acquired more workstations and equipment. The automotive wing now resembles a brightly lit operating room.

Second year welding student Kylee Aldstadt has seen both sides of the renovations, noting the difference recent changes made to overall education and safety. 

“By renovating our educational space, UCC is paving the way for generations of new welders to come,” Aldstadt said. “The shop is a safer space now, and with the addition of a break room among other improvements, it has created a space for us welders to be creative, to relax, study and allows us a supportive environment we wouldn’t necessarily have anywhere else on campus.”

Before Lockwood Hall received these updates, students and staff worked with insufficient or outdated tools.
Photo by J.R. Williams / The Mainstream

“The remodel also gives our amazing teachers Ian and Duane a platform to stand on and express their amazing teaching abilities,” Aldstadt said. “Duane and Ian give 1000% to their students, and it’s wonderful to see them and this program supported in this way. This program has truly touched my life, and as a woman in this industry I look forward to my successes ahead. I’m grateful for Ian and Duane’s profound support and the welding program here at UCC.”

These updates have been in the works for years. According to 2012 news reports, UCC asked the public to vote in an approximately $40 million bond for new buildings and technology, including a $19.4 million industrial arts building, but that bond wasn’t approved. Another bond measure was considered in November 2020, but the industrial arts project remained on hold. 

Technical degree students make up a large portion of the student body at UCC and many of those students pass through Lockwood Hall.

While enrollment for college is down across the country, the technical degree departments are preparing community awareness and student education platforms to meet the gaps in local and national industry. 

“A large portion of the current job force is aging out, and we are about to see a huge need for technical skills training,” said Ian Fisher, UCC welding coordinator. 

Lighting was updated in the automotive hall to establish a more illuminated and safer work environment for students.
Photo by J.R. Williams / The Mainstream

Plans to host an event highlighting woman in the industry was cancelled last March due to pandemic lockdowns but will be rescheduled once facilities reopen.

Myths about tech trades prevent some individuals from exploring UCC’s trade programs. However, trade certifications and degrees often allow students to start working in the industry while still working on completing certifications.  Trade jobs allow flexibility of hours and lifestyle as well; many companies offer contracts across the country, and some companies are now offering signing bonuses.

Money is another misconception when it comes to trade jobs. There is good money in the trade industry with the possibility of making a six-figure income. 

“Companies would fight over my contracts and try to outbid each other based on trade credentials,” said Ronnie Hastings, a diesel mechanic who cross trained as an Electronics tech.

International companies also have offices locally, recruiting for big organizations and companies and franchises such as McDonald’s. With so many opportunities coming in the future for much of the trade industry, the renewed hall will enrich many student’s education and career path.

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