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Transportation Technology Education Complex to Meet Growing Demand

College of Marin invites more than 500 regional industry specialists to the May 13 Grand Opening

Novato, CA— May 17, 2010 — On May 13, 2010, College of Marin opened its new Transportation Technology Education Complex, a state-of-the-art facility that will help students keep pace with the rapidly evolving industry. The building is the first Measure C Bond project to be completed on the Indian Valley Campus and will host expanding programs in Automotive Technology and Automotive Collision and Repair.

COM Indian Valley Campus Transportation Technology Education Complex

“This project would not have been possible without the generous support of community members who voted yes on Measure C in 2004,” said College of Marin Superintendent/President Frances L. White, Ph.D. “We are very grateful for the community’s support and are excited about opening these new doors to learning opportunities for our students,” said White.

The new center is expected to receive a Silver LEED certification rating for its outstanding energy-saving features. The first Measure C project, the Diamond Physical Education Center on the Kentfield campus, opened in fall 2009 and recently received LEED Gold certification for its top sustainability features.

“The students who are coming into our program will have the benefit of the newest technology and the newest tools that are used by technicians in this industry,” said Nanda Schorske, dean of Workforce Development & College-Community Partnerships.

The new Transportation Technology Education Complex includes two separate renovated buildings with a new connecting structure that houses faculty offices. An indoor/outdoor terrace provides space for class meetings and other activities. The Auto Collision & Repair facility has two full-size paint booths, auto body repair stations and dual welding stations. The second building houses engine and transmissions repair bays and a combination small components lab/smart classroom. Auto bays include computerized scissor lifts, transmissions and engine dynometers.

Sustainable construction was a top priority and the facility features numerous energy-saving technologies such as hydronic heating in concrete floor slabs, solar heated showers, waterless urinals and plumbing fixtures with electronic sensors and auto shutoff. Energy efficient lighting and motorized windows for efficient cross ventilation are some of the building components that can be managed online. Building insulation combined with standing seam metal roofing contributes significant energy savings. Other features in the ADA accessible facility include high-speed wireless internet coverage, a storm water run-off filtration system, sound barriers around an outdoor equipment yard, an air filtration system and locker room showers. Builders used materials with high recycled content and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) content.

Auto technicians and collision and repair specialists are in the midst of a revolution in their industry brought on by new technologies and increasing environmental and cost concerns. Almost half of the auto-related work is computer and software driven. College of Marin graduates are no longer “mechanics”; they are “technicians”, Schorske says. “The Indian Valley Campus program has long been known as one of the premier auto programs in the region.” Curriculum focuses on building creative and inventive diagnostic skills. “The technology combines the art with the science,” Schorske said. “It will help students keep pace with the rapidly changing industry.”

As many as 92,400 automotive technicians will be employed by 2012, according to California labor estimates. The national outlook projects 919,000 by 2012, with 101,000 new positions. New jobs will require skills with electronics as well as alternative fuel vehicles. The auto collision and repair industry is also rapidly evolving to include new products. The poor economy has also meant that more people are holding on to old cars that need work, Schorske says.

This year, COM is offering classes in electric conversion for conventional cars as well as smogging classes for diesel engines. Students will learn to convert conventional cars to electric cars and how to be a smog tech in addition to numerous other skills.Restored and retrofitted cars

“We’ve invested time and money to make sure we’ve addressed all avenues of transportation,” said Ron Palmer, Career Education Department chair and an instructor in both automotive programs. “The investment that the district has made in the auto programs through this building really recognizes the role the Indian Valley Campus has played in education of transportation technologies in the region. College of Marin will be very competitive with the private schools but our facility will be more diverse and have more flexibility.”

More than 500 invitations were sent to local business owners who sell or service cars inviting them to the May 13 event. Over half of them said their businesses included technicians and owners who had participated in classes at Indian Valley.

Also on display will be some lovingly restored and retrofitted cars provided by graduates of the automotive program.

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The Transportation Technology Education Complex was paid for by Measure C  Bond funds, which were approved by voters in 2004. HKIT Architects, Oakland, California was the architectural firm that designed the state-of-the art-facilities.  Alten Construction, Richmond, California was the firm in charge of construction. Swinerton Management & Consulting, San Francisco, California served as construction and program manager for the project. Also, special thanks to V-Anne Chernock, COM's director of Modernization for her work in facilitating the project.  Read more about the new facilities at http://www.marin.edu/MeasureC/PhotoGallery/TransTech.htm

At College of Marin, students may earn seven specialized Skills Certificates, four Career Certificates and an Associate of Science degree in Automotive Technology. For more information, visit www.marin.edu/departments/CareerEducation/AutomotiveTechnology.

The Automotive Collision Repair Technology Program is designed to prepare students for entry into the automotive collision repair and maintenance fields as well repair and maintain the appearance and value of their personal vehicles. Students may earn an Associate of Science in Master Collision Repair, Occupational, a Certificate of Achievement or Skills Certificates in Mechanical and Electrical Components, Nonstructural Damage Repair, Painting and Refinishing and Structural Damage Repair.

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