New Labs Set Stage for Technology Education's Future
Two space-age, state-of-the-art manufacturing laboratories and a new classroom opened to technology students for fall classes in a 13,700-square-foot addition to Wilber Hall.
The new spaces, like the construction and renovations surrounding them, represent an investment in preparing students to survive and thrive in an evolving world, said Dan Tryon ’89, a technology education faculty member helping guide the School of Education renewal projects.
“We have vastly superior equipment and facilities than we had last semester, and it will only get better,” Tryon said. “People know us from our historical strength, and this keeps us competitive. This lets students experience, learn and develop skills (in) current and even future technology.”
Oswego’s technology programs for 125 years have sought to prepare professionals to serve as technologically literate educators and managers. Tryon said the new laboratories, the multimedia classroom and renovations to come in two existing labs — polymers and metals processing — position the college for today and the future.
The manufacturing labs host such modern machines as a 3D printer that can use computer-assisted designs to turn out working thermoplastic models ranging from new mechanical inventions to chess pieces. A laser cutter-engraver, fast becoming a standard in industrial shops nationwide, can do its work from computer-generated designs on objects up to two by three feet.
Tryon said other equipment would arrive during the first half of the semester, including a four-axis computer numerical controlled router, industrial robots, modern milling machines and more.
The new adjacent labs, with their story-and-a-half ceiling, have been designed for flexibility and energy efficiency, Tryon said. Machines are on wheels for easy reconfiguration, power outlets and air hoses hang from the ceiling, a dust-extraction system keeps the air clean and a smart-room system automates equipment and utility operation and shutdown.
The biggest adjustment for faculty and students promises to be software, Tryon said. Computer numerical controlled machines, additive manufacturing, robotics and computer-aided design all require a high degree of software literacy. Tryon and fellow technology education faculty member Richard Bush '92, M '97 have spent the summer learning such programs as Mastercam with a goal of earning certification as teachers of the software.
“The way you design, the way you build, the way you print, changes everything,” Tryon said. “It means a dramatic step forward in terms of our technological tools and abilities.”
Students, faculty, staff and tour groups are finding their way to Wilber and its glass-walled, energy-efficient labs from Snygg’s lower-level walk-through and from a fence-lined path on the Lee Hall side of the building. To the west and east of Wilber, more than 175 construction workers a day continue to work toward fall 2013 openings for the Science and Engineering Innovation Corridor and a renovated Park Hall.
The other major portion of the $5.8 million Wilber addition, a new field placement office for the School of Education, will also open in fall 2013, according to Tom LaMere, director of Facilities Design and Construction.
⎯ Jeff Rea '71
Technology education faculty Richard Bush ’92, M ’97, left, and Dan Tryon ’89 examine a machine model with working, movable parts produced by Stratasys’ Fortus 250mc 3D production printer, part of the high-tech gear in two new manufacturing labs.
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