The renovation of the NICC Calmar Wilder Building into the new Wilder Business and Industry Training Center has gotten underway.
The college's renovations to the current Wilder Resource Center will re-purpose the facility toward providing training programs for local businesses and their current and future employees. The Wilder Resource Center opened in January 1975, when the college was named Area One Vocational Technical School. In 1975 construction was funded by a $100,000 grant by the late Mary G. Wilder, an aunt to former NICC President Max Clark's wife, Dorothy Clark.
The completed facility will house nearly 20,000 square feet of conference and training spaces to accommodate up to 300 people, including a board room, breakout rooms and a revamped auditorium. State-of-the-art technology will include audio-visual equipment, video conferencing, virtual reality simulation and a computer lab.
The project is funded, in part, by a $1.1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration that matches funds from the college's bond levy.
NICC President Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., said that the matching grant will greatly expand what the college can offer for local employers, area communities and workers. "The Wilder Business and Industry Training Center will allow NICC to build upon its successful training programs for local industries and bring the local workforce to the next level of skills development," said Dr. Wee. "We are greatly looking forward to working with our business partners to impact their economic success," he said.
Plans for the new facility originated after a 2010 NICC survey of 135 businesses in the college's district. Respondents indicated that current and future employees would require more education and training beyond high school for businesses in northeast Iowa to retain their competitive edge.
The Wilder Business and Industry Training Center is scheduled to open in January 2013.