The Upstate Advanced Technology Center will have a high-tech look, be adaptable to the needs of industry, environmentally-friendly and ready for students in the fall of 2009.
David Langley of Langley & Associates Architects LLC presented Union County Council with the plans and artist's rendering of the center, which will be built on U.S. 176 across from Union Commerce Park. Langley said the 14,500-square-foot facility will be built on seven acres of the 23-acre site. He said the one-story building will be L-shaped so it can be expanded in two directions.
From the outside the structure will have a high-tech look with glass and metal panels. Langley said it will also be environmentally-friendly with a reflective roof surface, high efficiency heat and air, low-flow water system and lights controlled by motion sensors that will switch them off when no one is in the room.
The facility is designed to accommodate training in robotics, mechatronics, electronics and welding. Langley said the interior of the building includes two large lecture rooms that can each be subdivided into four classrooms that can each accommodate up to 20 students. He said there will also be three large flexible training rooms with roll up doors to accommodate the movement of equipment in and out of the building. All equipment used in the training rooms will be portable so the areas can be retooled as-needed to meet the needs of different industries.
The back parking lot will have reinforced asphalt to accommodate forklift and truck driver training. This area can be separated from the student and faculty parking area at the front of the building.
Langley said plans are to put the project out for bids in October with the goal of having the work completed and the facility open for the fall 2009 semester.
The robotics center will be the first of what officials hope will eventually be an eight-building advanced technology educational complex. The complex will be operated jointly by USC-Union and Spartanburg Community College. The complex will provide an array of technology-related courses to meet the needs of firms like LSP, Sonoco and Timken for a workforce trained in robotics.
The project has been awarded a $1 million Economic Development Administration grant; a $1.25 million Community Block Development Grant to build Quick Time Job Development Center which the county matched with $125,000; and a $350,000 Competitive Grant.
Another $1.7 million is needed to complete the first phase of the project. The city and the county have asked the state and federal legislative delegations for assistance in obtaining those funds.
Airport land appraisal
In other business, council unanimously approved a recommendation from Airport Director Ronnie Wade that the county hire W.K. Dickson & Co. Inc. to conduct an appraisal, review of appraisal and an airport layout plan to ensure the county is reimbursed for the land it purchased to expand the airport runway.
Wade said that when the county originally purchased the 58 acres for approximately $174,000, it did so with the assurance that the Federal Aviation Administration would reimburse 95 percent of the cost. The appraisal of the property, however, underestimated the value of the property at just $1,000 an acre. This mean the county be reimbursed for only a third of the cost involved. The only way to avoid this would be to have the property re-appraised and an airport layout plan developed.
The new appraisal and layout plan is projected to cost $24,000. Wade said the FAA will reimburse the county for 95 percent of that as well.
The airport runway has been lengthened from 3,000 to 3,500 feet and plans are for it to be extended to 5,000 feet which will enable it to accommodate corporate jets. The lengthening of the runway is part of an overall program of improvements that include new lighting and additional hangars.
Council also voted unanimously to approve: