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Industrial Education and Technology (IET) Building


Opened 1989
Cost: $16.2 million

Central Michigan University first discussed and authorized the planning for a new building in which its Industrial and Engineering Technology Department (IET) and classes could be housed in 1973. Lack of funding delayed its construction until 1985, when funding was finally approved and architectural plans began to be developed. In preparation for the design phase, IET faculty traveled to a number of institutions with recently-installed technology similar to that planned for CMU's new building. In addition to several smaller institutions, faculty visited Purdue University and the General Motors Institute in Flint.

The final designs were submitted by architectural firm Daverman and Associates of Grand Rapids. The $16.2 million project, which included over $6 million for equipment, called for a two-story, 110,000 square foot structure that would stretch for a tenth of a mile in length. The building would also be the first at a Michigan college or university with money set aside for state "art in public places" legislation. Located southeast of Moore Hall and to the north of Woldt Hall, the building would be constructed on the site of an existing parking lot that contained almost 300 spaces.

The Christman Company of Lansing was awarded the construction contract, which totaled just under $9 million, and construction began in June 1987. Construction was hampered by a few problems, including a small fire that caused some damage in the summer of 1988. More seriously, an electrical worker on the project was killed in December 1988. Harry Millard, a 36-year old Beal City man and an employee of Kempf Electric, died while installing electrical components in the new building.

Although the original completion date was planned for November of 1988, construction crews were still working when students entered the building for classes in January 1989. The building was officially dedicated in October of that year, when Secretary of State John Engler, former CMU president Arthur Ellis, and other dignitaries toured the facility. University officials decided that rather than dedicating the building in honor of a person, it would remain the Industrial Education and Technology Building. While most buildings on campus bear the name of a person, and while the faculty of IET had suggested a name, the Board of Trustees decided to adhere to a policy of refusing to name buildings after people who are still alive, although they had broken this policy in the past. The structure remains the Industrial Education and Technology Building today.

Regardless of its name, the building proved a huge benefit for the IET department. Formerly housed in the tight confines of Wightman Hall, the usable square footage for the department grew from 21,000 to 110,000 with their move into the new facilities. The IET Building featured 30 laboratories equipped for instruction in electronics, plastics, graphics, energy, drafting, and other fields. Additionally, the building contained cutting edge technology, including 3-dimensional engineering graphics and design capabilities and facilities specializing in robotic vision. The new building provided ample space for the still-growing IET department, which at the time of the move had 14 faculty members, 400 majors, and 200 minors. This department has since become the School of Engineering and Technology.