The red ribbon was cut. The time had come. The Career Technology Center opened its doors.
In a special ribbon cutting ceremony, new MCCC President Kojo Quartey spoke to a crowd of around 250, announcing the grand opening of the 60,000 square foot building.
“The opening of this building is a watershed moment,” Quartey said.
From the podium, Quartey pointed to an electric car parked on the sidewalk.
“I drove that this morning, because that vehicle was created by our students,” he said.
Quartey honored the former college presidents, including MCCC’s most recent president, Dr. David Nixon.
“The legacy was built by the previous president. He’s a legend; I have big shoes to fill,” Quartey said about Nixon.
Nixon stepped forward and explained the importance of the CTC building, which was built during a period of economic stagnation.
“With every crisis comes opportunity,” he said. “We will move forward.”
The $17 million building will offer programs in the technology and engineering fields. The building features spacious labs in areas such as nuclear and renewable energy.
Bill Bacarella, chairman of the Board of Trustees, honored the MCCC College Supporter of the Year. This year the award went to Monroe County’s legislative delegation in Lansing.
He commended the state representatives and senator for their committed efforts to move grant funding forward through the state Legislature.
As a result, MCCC was awarded half of the building’s cost – $8.5 million. The remaining balance is being raised through a capital campaign.
The winners of the annual College Supporter of the Year award included Sen. Randy Richardville, Rep. Dale Zorn, former Rep. Kathy Angerer, the late Kate Ebli and Rep. Rick Olson.
“As I look back, I look forward,” said Zorn, who represents District 56.
Zorn, a former MCCC student, took automotive technology classes at the college.
“I came to hone in on these skills,” he saidafter the ceremony.
“Skilled labor is so important, and it’s a part of who we are.”
A representative for Rick Snyder, governor for Michigan, read a special tribute.
“Without question, CTC will be an asset to students,” he said.
Other speakers included U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and U.S. Reps. John Dingell and Tim Walberg.
After the commemoration speeches, the politicans, board members and other MCCC leaders gathered behind the red ribbon.
Bacarella and Board member Linda Lauer stood in front to help cut the ribbon with an oversized pair of scissors.
At first, the ribbon did not snip into two pieces.
“I’m trying,” Lauer said.
Finally, the ribbon parted and the building was officially open.
Guided tours were available for the public afterward.
On the same day, MCCC and DTE Energy unveiled an Enrico Fermi (Fermi 1) historical exhibit within the CTC. The exhibit covers the history and importance the nuclear plant, locarted just north of Monroe. An afternoon ribbon cutting ceremony was held outside the CTC building at a monument that formerly stood at the Fermi I plant.
As students return to school and classes in the new building, Rep. Zorn said they should remember one thing as they enter.
“Take every opportunity you can,” he said.