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EAC’s Industrial Technology facilities are getting a facelift

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EAC’s Industrial Technology facilities are getting a facelift

By Lori Dugan

Thatcher, AZ— Last year, Eastern Arizona College was awarded a $2.1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Program (TAACCCTP). Half of the grant is being used to update and expand the College’s Industrial Technology Education (ITE) facilities which were originally constructed in 1967. This will include construction of a new 2,345 square foot Fab Lab and a new outdoor, covered, 2300 square foot welding area, and will increase the overall square footage of the ITE building by about 3000.  

The College broke ground on the project in February, and it is expected to be completed in time for classes this fall. Major renovations will affect the Drafting, Welding, and Advanced Manufacturing Departments, while the Automotive Technology and Electrical and Instrumentation Departments, along with the wood shop, will remain in their current locations within the renovated facility. Then machine shop is being upgraded with new lighting, the welding shop is beintg outfitted with new welding stations, and fire protection has been updated throughout the entire building.

In addition, the Media Communications Technology program is relocating to the southeast corner into a larger space which will now include a lab, a mediated classroom, and two audio/video production studios.

The remodel has been designed to accommodate a new vision for ITE, making accessibility easier for students enrolled in all of the programs now being offered.  

“Advanced manufacturing pulls skills from several industries—machining, welding, computer-assisted design,” said EAC Dean of Instruction Mike Crockett. “All these skills will be important in the Fab Lab,” explained Crockett. “Industrial jobs require this kind of collaboration and cross training more and more. We wanted the building to reflect that. This will give an edge to our students because they will take with them a complex of skill-sets rather than a single skill. We are literally tearing down walls that can impede the education process.”

The Fab Lab and the welding, drafting, and advanced manufacturing offices, classrooms, and labs will be accessible through the main (south) entrance and from there students will have access to the other departments.

The Fab Lab will also have its own entrance, accessible from the southwest side of the building.  

“A Fab Lab is comprised of off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, accompanied by open source software and programs written by researchers at MIT,” said Crockett.   “Fab Labs throughout the world are also video-linked, so that questions can be answered and innovations shared in real-time.”

“Currently Fab Labs include a laser cutter that makes 2D and 3D structures, a sign cutter that plots in copper to make antennas and flex circuits, a high-resolution CNC milling machine that makes circuit boards and precision parts, a large wood router for building furniture and housing, and a suite of electronic components and programming tools,” he said.

For more information about the remodel of the ITE facilities at EAC, contact Crockett at (928) 428-8291 or by e-mail at