College improvement projects in full gear

As we approach the start of spring, there is a lot of excitement in the air at Glen Oaks.

We are in the last stage of renovation on the concourse project and are planning for a New Grand Concourse Reveal and Ribbon Cutting event on Wed., April 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. We hope you can join us.

In addition, we have hired Towers Pinkster architectural/engineering firm to begin the preliminary design of the projects included as part of the $7 million capital outlay initiatives approved by the state in late December.

This funding, requires an institutional match, and will help address the much-needed facilities and campus improvements including campus safety and security, energy efficiency, ADA accessibility and compliance, and IT infrastructure as well as overall campus infrastructure, i.e., parking lots, etc.

In addition, the work will include renovated technology labs for automotive, electrical technology, graphic design, machining manufacturing and welding. Also planned are renovations to the Learning Commons (Library and Tutoring and Testing Center),  the Nora Hagen Theatre and classrooms.

As we head into the future, we also want to reflect on the past and remember those who brought us to this point. In February we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Glen Oaks Centreville campus. We were delighted to have a number of faculty, staff and alumni from that era join us for the celebration. If you would like to see the video highlighting the celebration, you can link to it in the article below.

St. Joe/Glen Oaks Going Pro Award Announcement     

A new collaborative, involving Ox Engineered Products, American Axle and X-L Machine, formed last year in order to offer a “Manufacturing Principles” class beneficial to all.

“Through combined efforts, we were able to offer the training more cost effectively,” said Paul Aivars, director of business outreach and services. “This wouldn’t have been possible for each company to take on individually.”

Since then, several information sessions were held in the fall with Michigan Works! Southwest, Glen Oaks Community College, Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce and St. Joseph County businesses to expand this collaborative effort. Interest from other companies has grown as  new partners saw the advantage of networking to provide common training courses to meet each company’s needs.

The purpose of the collaborative is for St. Joseph County manufacturers to maintain a skilled workforce that will choose to remain in the area. All the companies are under constant pressure to produce cost effective products to be able to compete in both the domestic and global markets. In the face of this competition the companies continue to look for ways to improve internal operations, thus the need for further training.

The stakeholders of the collaborative are Armstrong International, Burr Oak Tool, X-Machine, Ox-Engineered Products, American Axle, Dock Foundry Co. (Metal Technologies) and Kadant Johnson. Various courses will be offered including: Manufacturing Principles, Supervision, GD&T, Blueprint Reading, 8-D Problem Solving, Green Belt, Gauging/Calipers, Machining, ISO 9000-2015 and Project Management. The training will take place from March through July 2019.

Foundation Annual Celebration: “Creating a Blueprint for Success” — Fri., April 26 

Please plan to join us for the Glen Oaks College Foundation Celebration on Fri., April 26. Proceeds from this annual fundraising event support student scholarships and College initiatives.

This year’s theme is  “Creating a Blueprint for Success.” The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the newly renovated grand concourse.

The Celebration will feature a silent and live auction, hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  A special live auction opportunity will be to bid on a private dinner with Fred Wallace Haise Jr., prior to his Viking Speaker Series program May 17, 2019. Haise is a former American NASA astronaut, fighter pilot with the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force, and a test pilot. He is one of only 24 people to have flown to the moon, having flown as lunar module pilot on Apollo 13.

Tickets are $50 per person. Seating is limited. Please RSVP by April 12. For tickets or questions, call (269) 294-4384 or

Grand Concourse Reveal — Wed., April 24, 4 to 6 p.m.

You are invited to join us for the “Reveal of the New Grand Concourse” on Wed., April 24 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Plans call for a reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony that will be held at 5:15 p.m.

The $2.5 million project transforms the 50-year-old concrete walls into modern wood, metal and glass finishes, along with the addition of sound-absorbing wave panels in the ceiling to help reduce noise levels. Features include a modern-day grand staircase with glass walls and wooden handrails, a 100-seat dining area, meeting rooms and seating areas that will incorporate today’s technology. A new art gallery and restrooms are being renovated as well.

Fredericks Construction, of Vicksburg, Michigan, is the general contractor and Arkos Design, of Mishawaka, Indiana is the architect for the project.

“The concourse is the prime gathering place for our students,” said Dr. David Devier, Glen Oaks president, “The need is even greater now that we have a resident hall on our campus.”