Michigan's Ferris State University shows off new building

HVACR department Chairman Mike Feutz talks about some of the features of the Granger Center for Construction and HVACR.
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - It was time to polish the metal and clean the glass. The occasion: a formal walk-through of the new HVACR and construction program building on the campus of Ferris State University.

Mike Feutz, chairman of the school's HVACR department, recently gave members of the advisory committee a tour of the new facility. The event was part of the group's semiannual business meeting.

Labels show what flows through pipes and ductwork.
Feutz pointed out several features of the building, including the easy-to-view mechanical systems. Since the students study such systems in their normal course work, all mechanical systems are installed behind clear Plexiglas. The systems are also color-coded for easy identification.

In the school’s energy lab, Andy Lemanczyk uses a flow hood.
The three floors of the building are heated by different systems, including geothermal, radiant and variable-air-volume diffusers. There is also a snowmelt system under the entrance walkway.

Feutz introduced committee members to John Tomczyk, who is in charge of the commercial refrigeration lab, and Eric Quilitzsch, who runs the controls laboratory - a high-tech classroom equipped with computer stations for each student that can be used for programming systems over the Internet.

Student Ray Wrobel checks pressure on a commercial refrigeration-condensing unit.

Industry assistance

Feutz mentioned that equipment donations from manufacturers have been filling up the labs, to the point where many pieces have been placed in storage until a spot can be found for them in classrooms.

Bhushan Joshi takes a meter reading on a Liebert unit in Ferris State University’s AC lab.
"The industry has been very kind to us," Feutz said, adding that $300,000 in equipment donations and $1.56 million in cash has been received so far.

The university is also selling naming rights to the new facility. The Granger Construction Co., the building's architect, gave a $1 million gift to the department, so the facility will be named The Granger Center for Construction and HVACR.

"Granger has bent over backward to work with us," said Feutz. "They are constructing a building that will be used by their own trade. They want it right."

Jamie Dorland works with a Siemens system in the energy lab.
Feutz added that other naming rights are still available, and organizations could sponsor a wing of the building, a specific lab or classroom.

Plans include hosting the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute's annual instructor workshop, teaming up with the Michigan chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America to start a student-recruitment program and a media campaign to spread the word about the new facility.

The building's official dedication is scheduled for May 2005.