MONROE — With a gift of $50,000 from Monroe Bank & Trust, The Foundation at Monroe County Community College has raised more than 85 percent its goal of $17 million for the construction of the Career Technology Center, said H. Douglas Chaffin, chair of the capital campaign for the facility and president and CEO of MBT.

Chaffin made the announcement this week at a regular meeting of the MCCC Board of Trustees.

He said that the college has raised $14.59 million toward the building, with $8.5 million coming from the state, $4.25 million from the college and $1.84 million in current campaign commitments. 

The college still needs to raise another $2.41 million.

The 60,000-square foot Career Technology Center, which is scheduled to open in the fall, will provide infrastructure to support state-of-the-art classrooms and lab space required to deliver instruction and skills necessary to secure high-growth, high-demand and high-paying jobs.

Prior to announcing the $50,000 contribution by MBT, Chaffin discussed the importance of contributions by local businesses to the economic vitality and quality of life of the communities they serve.

“Since a majority of our shareholders live, work and worship in the communities we serve, there is a close affiliation between ‘shareholder return’ and ‘community investment,’” he said, adding that more than 50 percent of MBT employees have graduated from or attended classes at MCCC. “As a community bank, we have a moral and ethical obligation to be a meaningful participant in local economic development opportunities, as well as contributions to an improved quality of life for local residents and businesses. Communities that are active in their own economic development and that are recognized for a strong quality of life prosper as local businesses and employers feel confident to expand, and prospective employers determine that these communities are viable options for new investment and development.”

The $4.25 million the college has contributed to the Career Technology Center is in line with the amounts MCCC has allocated to major capital projects since 1991.

That year, the college paid for the entire $3.6 million cost of constructing the Whitman Center in Temperance after the land was donated by the Paul Whitman family. In 1997, MCCC built the $6.9-million Gerald Welch Health Education Building without any private fundraising – the college and the state each paid for half the cost. When the La-Z-Boy Center was built in 2004, the college paid for 25 percent of the $12 million cost of construction. The other 75 percent of the financing was made up of $6 million from the state, $4.3 million from a capital campaign and $3 million from the college. The $1.3 million above the goal was used to create the Cultural Enrichment Endowment.

In addition, MCCC completed extensive science lab renovations from 2003-2007 and bore the entire cost of $2.6 million.

The funding model for the Career Technology Center closely mirrors that of the one for the La-Z-Boy Center, said MCCC Chairman William J. Bacarella.

“We are constructing a $17 million building for the citizens of Monroe County at a 75 percent discount to the total cost,” he said. “This is a particular point of pride for all of us. When we reach our goal, MCCC can honor our donors and celebrate that only 25 percent of the funding for the facility will have come from MCCC’s reserve fund balance, with the rest coming from the state and from our generous private donors — the individuals, foundations, businesses and industries of Monroe County. I would like to sincerely thank Doug Chaffin and Monroe Bank & Trust for the tireless work and dedication Doug has provided as capital campaign chairman for the Career Technology Center. Doug has devoted hundreds of hours providing assistance, direction and leadership to the campaign. And, on top of the substantial gift of his leadership, the generous gift of $50,000 by MBT is a substantial investment and, together, MCCC and MBT are working hard with the entire economic development sector to promote a healthy and sustainable economy in Monroe County.”

“It’s every community college president’s dream to work with someone like Doug Chaffin and the team at MBT,” said MCCC president David E. Nixon. “Together, MCCC and MBT represent the power of partnership between higher education and economic development.  Both organizations are dedicated to expanding opportunities for citizens – MCCC’s Career Technology Center will do that for generations to come.”

The Career Technology Center will allow for the updating and expansion of existing programs now housed in the East and West Technology buildings, which are inadequate to meet modern technology needs. These include program areas such as nuclear engineering, welding, construction, computer-aided drafting and manufacturing, electronics, mechanical engineering and automation, quality assurance, and automotive engineering and service with an emphasis on hybrid and battery technology. 

In addition, the Career Technology Center will provide facilities and equipment necessary for the development of programs in the emerging areas of advanced manufacturing; renewable energies such as wind, solar and fuel cell technology; and sustainable and green technologies.

A combination of sustainable systems has been integrated into the design of the facility that will be incorporated into the curriculum. The building will serve as a learning laboratory for students in industrial technology fields.

On March 8, the DTE Energy Foundation announced a $1-million gift to the Career Technology Center capital campaign. Other major gifts have included $500,000 from the La-Z-Boy Foundation and $75,000 from the Michigan Gas Utilities and the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation. In addition, about $190,000 has been raised through an internal fundraising campaign that officially kicked off three weeks ago. More than $50,000 of that total has come from employee gifts, and 100 percent of the members of the Board of Trustees, The Foundation Board of Directors and the Alumni Association Board of Directors have contributed.

“There’s still plenty of room to join the donor list for the Career Technology Center – at any level,” said Michael R. Meyer, chair of The Foundation at MCCC.  “Call us, make an appointment to see the building, ask for our brochures or check out the whole project on the MCCC website.  Be a part of the next chapter of MCCC and Monroe County.”

More information on the Career Technology Center at MCCC, including ways to support the new facility, is available

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