Automotive service and collision repair students in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region will soon be able to learn the latest practices in a state-of-the-art facility. Wake Technical Community College, in Raleigh, recently announced the start of construction on its $41.8 million, 105,000-square-foot next-generation Automotive Systems Technology and Collision Repair facility. Planned for a fall 2021 opening on the Scott Northern Wake Campus, the new facility will more than double the number of students in its Automotive Systems Technology program, and it will add a new degree program in Collision Repair.
Developed in collaboration with industry leaders, the new facility has been designed to accommodate current and future needs of automotive experts. During its Sept. 16 unveiling ceremony, the first of what is hoped to be multiple partnerships from area dealerships and aftermarket professionals was announced. Hendrick Automotive Group has pledged $1 million to “Wake Tech” for the newly named Hendrick Automotive Center for Automotive Excellence.
The new facility’s swoopy exterior will call to mind a modern interpretation of the fins on ’50s cars.
|With a $1M gift from Hendrick Automotive Group, Wake Tech kicked off construction of its new facility, the Hendrick Automotive Center for Automotive Excellence.|
Rick Hendrick, chairman of the group, based in Charlotte, N.C., said his company has 500 openings for technicians, and he anticipates that number to grow.
“There is a major demand for auto service technicians throughout our industry,” he said in a Wake Tech press release. “With so many opportunities out there, it’s important that we find partners like Wake Tech. They care about their students and teaching advanced skills.”
The new facility represents the state’s commitment to its citizens, “from cradle to career,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.
“We’re fortunate to have the best community college system in the country, led by Wake Tech,” he said.
Hendrick, who is also owner of NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports, joined Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls, Gov. Cooper, U.S. Rep. David Price, and Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair Jessica Holmes in unveiling a NASCAR race car bearing the Wake Tech and Hendrick Center for Automotive Excellence names.
“Industry partnerships such as this are vital to keeping our programs relevant and our community’s economic engine humming,” Ralls said.
There are a number of other sponsorship opportunities available to industry partners, said advisory board member Rick Guirlinger, president of Bourke Services LLC in Raleigh. As an example of some of the sponsorships available, automotive and collision shop opportunities are $500,000 each, engine and transmission classrooms are $12,000 each, and the welding suite is $15,000.
“The specific equipment, tools, etc., are a work in progress, with some brands and models being determined to see what, if any, industry partners will be interested in providing support with gifts-in-kind,” Guirlinger said. “This, along with other strategic investors similar to Hendrick Auto Group, is an ongoing initiative, and is in-process with various individuals and companies. The objective is to provide opportunities to any and all industry partners willing to be a part of this incredible facility.”