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Moraine Park Breaks Ground on AIR Center

Donors with shovels breaking ground

Moraine Park Technical College held its official groundbreaking ceremony for the Automation, Innovation and Robotics (AIR) Center on May 17 at the Fond du Lac campus.

“Today we kick-off the first of four referendum projects,” Bonnie Baerwald, Moraine Park President, said. “The vision behind our entire referendum began with this future space. The referendum’s success is one of Moraine Park’s greatest accomplishments. However, the future AIR Center space is a true reflection of our local business support. There were 32 district partners who stepped forward and donated 2.7 million dollars to make sure we could build this space for the growing educational needs of our communities–regardless of the referendum outcome.”

MPTC President Bonnie Baerwald at podium

The Fond du Lac Advanced Manufacturing and Trades project has two phases, the addition of the Automation, Innovation and Robotics (AIR) Center and an update of the existing B-Wing facilities. The project’s groundbreaking will take place after the spring semester, and the community will begin to see visible changes to the building’s exterior this summer.

The total project is expected to cost $12.8 million. The AIR Center is partially funded by donor contributions of nearly $2.7 million—a goal set and met by the Moraine Park Foundation, the College’s advancement entity.

“This is an exciting day for the college,” Dana Bourland, Director of College Advancement for the Moraine Park Foundation, said. “We are proud to have exceeded our $2.5 million goal and look forward to welcoming students into the space in fall 2024. Thank you for your partnership with Moraine Park, your commitment to the advancement of education in our communities and your generosity toward our students and spaces.”

The Advanced Manufacturing and Trades project is expected to be completed in June of 2024, with students first utilizing the space in fall of 2024.

“Since 2018, 1,250 Mercury Marine employees have received training through Moraine Park,” Andres Gonzalez, VP of Human Resources Mercury Marine, said. “We have experienced exceptional growth in recent years thanks to our decade-long partnership with MPTC. The AIR Center will have great impact on both Mercury Marine and in the community.”

Seth Ehlers, a Moraine Park Quality and Advanced Manufacturing program student and Mercury Marine engine technician, spoke about his education and career path.

“We are wrapping up another school year this week, but we are also at the forefront of something much larger,” Ehlers said.“I am jealous that I will be graduating before I am able to use the AIR Center, but I know the students that will train in this space will one day be working right alongside me, reaching goals and setting new heights.”

AIR Center Groundbreaking - May 2023

Learn more about the future of Moraine Park at morainepark.edu/future.

May 18th, 2023by Emilie Thielen