ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont College has commenced plans to begin building renovations on its new Mechanical Technology Center (MTC).
Once completed, the MTC will be the new home to Belmont’s Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program which is currently housed in the Science and Engineering Building on the property of Ohio University Eastern. The center will have specialized ventilation for soldering, as well as classroom space for instruction in geothermal, solar, smart-technologies, and traditional HVAC technologies.
"We are currently working on the conversion of the former North Star Polaris Building to become the new Mechanical Technology Center," said John Koucoumaris, Vice President Administrative Affairs. "The process to hire an architectural firm is underway to design approved state drawings and begin the renovation process. In the meantime, our Facilities Staff is in process of cleaning out the building and surrounding grounds."
Koucoumaris went on to say, "It is our hope is to have the renovation complete and the MTC open for classes by the end of the year."
The 5,000-square foot MTC will be located in the former Northstar Polaris Dealership building which the college purchased in 2011. The building, originally built in 1998, is connected to the 54 acres of property that Belmont College owns between Hammond Road and State Route 331 in St. Clairsville.
"Over the past few years much effort has made to improve and expand the HVAC program," said Dirk DeCoy, Program Chair and Director of Industrial Trades and Contract Training. "More than $150,000 in grant funding has been invested in HVAC training equipment for instruction in geothermal, solar, smart-technologies, and traditional HVAC technologies."
Thanks to grant money from RAPIDS (Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills), Belmont has purchased HVAC and energy efficiency equipment for the purpose of training students. According to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, RAPIDS grants are for collaborative workforce development projects in the Western, Northern Appalachia, and Central Ohio regions. The purpose of the grants is to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for use in learning laboratories specific to regional workforce needs. The Northern Appalachia Ohio funds are shared by colleges throughout the region that serve the oil and gas industries and healthcare fields, including Belmont College.
The RAPIDS grant has provided Belmont the opportunity to purchase the following equipment for the MTC building for use in HVAC classes: geothermal trainer, steam trainer, as well as computers that will work directly with the new equipment. Additionally, energy efficiency testing equipment such as: thermal guns, a blower door, and an infrared scope has been purchased to be shared between the HVAC program and the Energy and Natural Resources program.
At Belmont College, an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology and a Certificate Program in Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology are offered. These offerings are designed to provide an educational opportunity in which students learn the basics of installation, maintenance, and repair. Students in this program study heating, ventilation, and air conditioning theory and the design and construction of equipment.
The college is hoping to have additional programs announced soon to be housed in the MTC.
Along with the addition of the MTC, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently completed the Hammond Road Connector project which created a new way to access Belmont College’s Main Campus, as well as to reduce congestion and improve safety. Traffic signals at the old intersection of State Route 331 and Hammond Road were removed and access is no longer permitted to Hammond Road from SR 331. All traffic wanting to travel on Hammond Road to Belmont College now have to use the new Hammond Road Connector.
Furthermore, the addition of the MTC as well as the college’s recently Main Campus renovation comes on the heels of the addition of the Health Sciences Center. This facility, completed in 2015, features state-of-the-art classroom and science labs for biology, anatomy, and chemistry. These high-tech classrooms are meant to enhance the learning environment and provide opportunities for students to nurture collaboration and creativity. The facility is located near the Belmont College Main Campus Academic Technical Center overlooking Fox-Shannon Park.
The MTC is adjacent to Belmont’s Health Sciences Center and is located at 68633 Bannock Road, St. Clairsville.