WCC has high hopes for new Technical Education Center

Chronicle Media

A $60 million Technical Education Center is planned for Waubonsee Community College’s Sugar Grove campus. (WCC photo)

Waubonsee Community College’s planned Technical Education Center could double the enrollment capacity for students in a variety of automotive, welding and emerging programs  while providing classrooms and computer labs, offices and common support space. 

College officials were scheduled to kick off the $60 million project with this week’s ceremonial groundbreaking on the Sugar Grove campus. 

This groundbreaking ceremony represents a significant milestone for the college,” said  Waubonsee President Dr. Brian Knetl in a statement. The building we’re constructing is a clear demonstration of Waubonsee’s commitment to providing students with the latest technology, hands-on experience and training to prepare them for high-skill, high-demand and high-wage careers in Illinois and beyond.”   

Upon completion in late 2025, the 100,000-square-foot building will house WCC’s Auto Body Repair, Automotive Technology and Welding Technology Programs.  

“What excites me about the new building is having a functional shop that will allow us to train students in the way that they’re going to be expected to work in the field today,” said Guy Tiberio, associate professor of Automotive Technology.  

“Right now, our program is at capacity and we have to turn people away who are trying to get into our classes. So with the new, larger facility we can run more sections of classes, have more students in the shop at any given time.” 

The TEC will be located near the south entrance of the Sugar Grove campus, visible from Route 47 and adjacent to an existing auto body building. It will function as a collaboration hub and promote economic development in the region by addressing the high demand but critical labor shortage in these professions.  

The plans include larger, dedicated labs with specialized equipment to increase enrollment capacities and allow additional program growth in diesel technology, electric vehicles, welding fabrication and robotic welding. 

“Our ability to deliver state of the art technical education is linked to having up-to-date facilities and fixed equipment and  educational resources,” said Ne’Keisha Stepney, executive dean for Business, Technology and Workforce Education, in a video presentation. 

“The addition of the CTE building will allow us to introduce new program offerings in emerging areas including, but not limited to, diesel technology, electric vehicles, welding fabrication and robotic welding,” she added. 

Recently, Waubonsee was chosen to be one of 16 schools to participate in the Mopar Career Automotive Program competition. The competition involves technical and curriculum-based bracket “knockout”-style contests, and its main objective is to highlight the significant shortage of automotive technicians in the real world while preparing students to enter the workforce.  

For more information visit waubonsee.edu/TEC.