College opening manufacturing lab downtown


A partial rendering of the interior of the AMP Lab @ WMU in downtown Grand Rapids. Courtesy WMU

A new educational manufacturing facility in downtown Grand Rapids is being unveiled next week.

Western Michigan University said today it will open its new AMP Lab, which occupies the first two floors of the WMU Downtown Grand Rapids regional location at 200 Ionia Ave. SW.

The opening event will be on Sept. 19 from 5:30-7 p.m., with remarks beginning at 6 p.m. by several officials: WMU President Edward Montgomery, GRCC President Bill Pink; Steven Butt, WMU Department of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management chair and professor; and Autocam Medical President John Kennedy.

The facility is meant to cultivate the next generation of engineers, designers and other skilled individuals to serve the manufacturing industry.

The AMP Lab will combine prototyping, training and small-scale manufacturing with the opportunity for students to earn college credits toward a degree or certification.

Business Journal reporter Rachel Watson previously reported on numerous details of the AMP Lab:

Private investors partially funded the $3-million lab. WMU covered the remaining costs of construction and maintenance, while GRCC and other community partners provided the equipment.

The lab will contain hands-on instructional learning spaces and research areas. It will eventually support college lab sessions, professional workshops, training sessions, K-12 outreach and workforce development activities.

Along with WMU, GRCC will offer various manufacturing and engineering courses inside the lab. WMU is also exploring offering high school courses and inviting other universities to use the facility.

Progressive AE is the project’s architect and interior designer.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction is the contractor on the project.

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