WPCC Breaks Ground on New Mechatronics Building


mechatronics-groundbreakingWestern Piedmont Community College (WPCC) broke ground for the new Mechatronics Building on the main campus of the college on October 14. The single-story, 7,000 square-foot building, is located near Breeden and Rostan Halls and includes two labs, two related classrooms, a support room and conference room.The new Mechatronics Building will house both a modernized, Industrial Systems Technology program and the new Mechatronics Engineering Technology program at WPCC. Both programs feature a mixture of different areas of study, focusing on robotics, automation and programmable logic controllers (PLC) which are used in a variety of industrial settings.

“This 7,000 sf building will be a demonstration of all of our core values. Though today was all about the building, it is really about changing students’ lives and building the future of this great community,” said Dr. Michael Helmick, President of WPCC. “Community colleges are defined by their service to the community they serve, and Western Piedmont Community College is pleased to serve the workforce development and post-secondary needs of Burke County.”

“The Mechatronics building will help fill the need for technicians who will work in local industries – supplying highly trained individuals who make sure local industry is working at capacity,” said Bruce Hawkins, WPCC Trustee Chair. “This building symbolizes a cooperative effort by the state, county, school system and college, as well as our local industries who support this effort.”

Mechatronics is a scientific field that combines mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering in developing industrial processes that efficiently manufacture products. Some industries that use mechatronics in their processes include metal component manufacturing, industrial equipment electrical products, chemical processing, furniture and textiles. Mechatronics features work with robotics, automation, hydraulics, pneumatics and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in developing and testing automated, servo-mechanical, and other electromechanical systems. Prototype testing, startup, troubleshooting, repair and process improvement are just a few of the areas of specialty for graduates in this field.

“We at this college pledge to continue to train our students to be a part of the local workforce. This building is for the students who will be the next generation of workers in this county and who deserve the chance to be among the best trained workers not just in North Carolina, not just in the US, but in the world,” said Helmick.

Major contributors to the building’s construction include: Duke Energy, the Cannon Foundation, Unifour Foundation, Golden Leaf Foundation and Burke County.

The building is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.