PIQUA — The Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) has recently expanded and renovated its welding lab, allowing for more space in both the lab and the Welding Technologies program in addition to expanding the skills students can develop.
This project is one of the positive outcomes of the visioning project undertaken by UVCC with the support of the community through the passing of the 2019 tax levy.
UVCC Trades and Industry Supervisor Roger Voisard said the expanded welding lab took over a space that used to be a different lab.
“We expanded the lab to increase the instructional space,” Voisard said.
The additional 2,700 square feet of space will allow welding lab students to take on fabrication and rigging, as well as spread out and add additional booths.
The renovation also included new lighting, improved ventilation, new welders, and gas piping.
“It’s now a state-of-the-art welding facility,” Voisard said.
The ventilation has improved the air quality in the welding lab, and the new equipment has given students access to different types of welding processes. The gases being available at each booth through piping above the booth has also improved efficiency and safety, as well as streamlined the students’ processes as students would have previously had to use tanks of compressed gases.
In addition to saving the students time and providing them with more learning opportunities, the new improvements to the welding lab are also in line with industry standards, Voisard said.
“We prepare them for careers and what they will encounter in the real world when they walk out these doors,” Voisard said.
Alan Wuebker, instructor of Welding Technologies at UVCC, said the students love the newly renovated welding lab. Currently, his students have been building the welding carts for new welding machines after also designing the welding parts for those carts.
“It’s giving them a lot more ownership,” Wuebker said.
The welding lab also increased from 24 welding booths to 30 booths, increasing the capacity for UVCC’s Welding Technologies program. Voisard and Wuebker said the welding program typically fills up quickly each year. The program also has approximately 13 apprentices this year, which means those students switch between spending time in the field and in the classroom.
Duane Caudill, Adult Division director, said the renovated welding lab will also benefit students through the new welding certifications program in UVCC’s adult division. This program allows adults to switch careers or to enhance their skills if they currently weld.
“It really helps our community in many ways,” Caudill said.
The renovated welding lab was finished in July. The cost of the expansion was $330,435, including change orders. The new equipment, including the custom welding booths totaled $308,150, for a total renovation cost of $638,585.
UVCC, located at 8811 Career Dr. in Piqua, will be holding an open house and Distinguished Alumni Ceremony on Oct. 7. The Distinguished Alumni Ceremony will be held at 4:30 p.m., and the community is invited to tour the newly renovated welding lab after the ceremony from 5-7 p.m.