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Celebrate NWTC Improvements With Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Issue Date: July 12, 2018

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) officials were proud to show off the new Marinette campus facilities at a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Tuesday, July 10. The event celebrated completion of the $10 million expansion and remodeling project that was done in four phases over a two year period, while classes remained in session.

According to NWTC officials, generally about 2,000 students, full and part time, are enrolled at Marinette.

In his address at the ribbon cutting ceremonies, Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn, president and dean of NWTC, predicted that enrollment will continue to grow as a result of the improvements, which included renovating all 67,000 square feet of the original building and adding an additional 14,000 square feet. Work was done in four phases, and the final one was just completed last week. Areas created or renovated by the project include new Health Science labs for Nursing Assistant, PN, ADN and PTA studies, an Event Center, Student Lounge, Welcome Center, Library, Assessment Center, Welding, CNC, Automotive and Electro-mechanical labs. Reconstruction was done over a two year period during which classes continued.

A major feature of the renovation is an airy well lighted new main entrance and a very open and welcoming Welcome Center where students can get assistance with all their academic and support needs. It includes some cozy and slightly secluded restaurant style booths where students can share in collaborative learning, and is surrounded by easily accessible office space for two academic advisors, a financial aid advisor, an open concept library, academic coaching space, and a full assessment center.

Other additions and redesigned areas campus include a new addition for the College of Business, a new Health Sciences addition with spacious Nursing and Physical Therapy Assistant Labs, an updated Welding Lab, reconfigured Machine Tool and Automotive Labs, and a new Electro-Mechanical Lab.

Financing for the project was approved as part of a 2015 referendum package in which voters provided a total of $66.5 million for improvements at the campuses in Green Bay, Marinette and Sturgeon Bay.

Dr. Jeffrey Rafn, NWTC president, served as host for the outdoor ribbon cutting ceremony.

Special guests included Paul Chamberlain, Regional representative for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson; William Kahl, Vice President of Operations at Samuel Pressure Vessel Group; Danielle Kerkoff, NWTC Project manager; Jennifer Shehow, NWTC Associate degree nursing student; State Senator Dave Hansen; Christine Polzin, NWTC Marinette campus manager; State Representative John Nygren, and NWTC Trustees Dorothy Sadowski, David Mayer and Richard Stadelman.

"This fine new facility will be an economic boon to the community," Rafn declared as he opened the afternoon's events. He said the goal is to grow the local economy, and keep students living and working in the community.

He introduced Tom Zeise, general contractor for the project, and Danielle Kirchoff, who supervised details. "Because of Danielle, there's no dust in this building," Dr. Rafn declared. He said Marinette Campus Manager Christine Polzin had done a tremendous job of organizing everything so classes continue while the construction was going on. There were sometimes temporary walls put up, and sometimes entire units had to relocate to different spots. He believed the library was moved four times.

He said the programs offered at Marinette will continue to expand.They recently added physical therapy assistant and plan to offer medical assistant degree programs in the near future.

Rafn noted NWTC has worked much recently with Marinette Marine, but added, "We're so much more than Marinette Marine. We have a lot of excellent manufacturers here." He said they get acquainted with the needs of those manufacturers, and make sure their students train on the types of machines they will use in the working world and become familiar with the procedures used.

"This will be - and is - a central part of what Marinette County and this entire region is," Dr. Rafn declared.

He introduced speakers Bill Kahl, vice president of operations at Samuel Pressure Vessel Group; Jennifer Shehow, a current NETC associate degree nursing student, and Polzin. Each gave a brief address before the a dozen members of the group gathered in front of the main entrance to cut the ribbon.

That was followed by tours of the building and a scavenger hunt to encourage visitors to get into all parts of the facility. Light refreshments were served.

Kahl declared his firm is confident that when their workers are graduates of NWTC they will be properly trained, and declared it "a training center second to none," he declared, and added a pledge that Samuel Pressure Vessel Group "will continue to work with NWTC to grow our work force and the local economy."

Dr. Rafn declared NWTC "is really all about the students"we want our students to stay in this area".This college is about keeping families in Peshtigo and Marinette and in Marinette County.

Shehow was enthusiastic about the spacious new environment for nurses in training, and particularly about a simulated hospital room with a simulated patient that can be operated by an instructor who remains out of sight.

She liked the open concept library, the new study pods, and the larger size of the new classrooms.

Rafn credited Polzin with directing and planning the work that made the renovation period successful. "A project like this doesn't happen without the staff spending a lot of time," he declared.

Polzin agreed she had put a lot of time and effort into the project, but said other staff members had also worked with her every day to make things work. She thanked the Green Bay team for working with them as well. "This building is beautiful!" she declared. She said when children come into the welcome center "their eyes light up."

Polzin said she originally came from Marinette, and she and her family moved back to the city about seven years ago.

She encouraged people to stop in any time to see what the new facility looks like, and learn more about what it has to offer.


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