Ivy Tech Community College offers multiple Industrial Technology programs, including a large welding program. The welding program offered at Ivy Tech’s East Chicago location recently underwent a renovation to create an inspiring and innovative environment that appeals to new and existing students, reflecting the energy of the program and the future of the industry. The existing building contained a north/south corridor which the design team reinforced by referring to it as a “main street” with several program “front porches” that would increase visibility of those respective programs and clarify wayfinding along the corridor.
The project team purposely contemplated how the welding program entrance, or “front porch,” and virtual welding classrooms would set the precedent for the future program entry spaces to really highlight the programs and give a space for students to collaborate. A large driver for the welding renovation was to show that welding is a 22nd century skill that can be a high-tech, desirable career for young people. The entrance to the welding center is an approachable, open space that faces the lobby of the academic building and offers a place for informal gathering. There are glass walls creating visibility into the expanded welding space, showcasing more than 40 welding booths. The adjacent virtual welding classroom contains bays of virtual reality (VR) welding trainers, equipped with TV monitors on the wall, that mirror the small virtual display unit so instructors, peers from the class, and other visitors can see the technology in use.
Increased booth capacity, modern technology, and an improved layout for efficiency of space use allows for increased enrollment in the welding program. A new fume extraction system, along with improved ceiling and task booth lighting, improves student experience and safety. The renovated space supports three different types of welding – MIG, TIG and Stick welding – in a contained and safe environment. The booths are configurated in a way that allows up to three classes in the space at the same time, learning simultaneously. Direct access to and from the labs and classrooms make for quick transitions, creating more efficiency for instructors and students.
East Chicago Welding Lab Renovation
We have received so many compliments about new welding area. Just viewing the expressions of faculty, staff, and students when they first see it is just priceless…priceless.R. Louie Gonzalez, Ivy Tech Community College, Lake County Campus Chancellor