In 2016, Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y. recognized the Northeast had a critical need for skilled workers in the manufacturing sector and set out to double the size of its Advanced Manufacturing Technology program. The college wanted to build a new training facility to support greater enrollment of students in the program, attract private partnerships, and increase corporate engagement. It turned to Mosaic Associates to help build the Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills, also known as CAMS, to help meet those goals.
The college wanted the building to showcase its manufacturing program and the capabilities of its graduates. It also required that the center be flexible and able to adapt to developments in manufacturing industry equipment. Working with a limited budget of $14 million, we designed a superb 37,000-square-foot education facility that met all those challenges.
“Designing for the budget started with the program. We took almost 5,000 square feet off the initially proposed 41,000 square feet by looking for efficiencies in circulation and functional adjacencies,” said Architect John Onderdonk. “An efficient floor plan made the budget work, so there was no need to cut corners on finishes or materials.”
Designed with Corporate Partners in Mind
Now, CAMS is a one-stop manufacturing technology center that trains students on the latest machine tools, equipment, tooling, and software needed for employment with manufacturers throughout the Northeast. The building’s design provides corporate partners with access to offices and conference space adjacent to faculty offices, student classrooms, and labs. Facilities are available for corporate demonstration purposes, shared training activities, meetings, and events that connect the college to its workforce partners.
“We’re proud to have created a design that elevates the image of manufacturing as a career while following a very sensible budget,” said Onderdonk.
The two-story, 37,000-square-foot structure defines the southern edge of the Troy campus and illustrates the college’s commitment to training the community’s labor force, marrying the campus material palette with an industrial aesthetic. The building presents itself from both the road and the campus at angled views, not in pure elevation, emphasizing a unique condition at each corner.
A glazed center atrium connects the formal south entrance to the campus quad entrance, providing visual transparency from north to south through the building. Highlighted within the central core are student capstone projects and donor displays, including a Formula 1 race car. Curtainwall glazing at the faculty offices capture northern light and present a sense of accessibility to the students and visitors.
As much as it connects the road to the campus, the atrium also divides the learning environments, the “dirty” machining labs and support spaces from the “clean” CAD labs, traditional classrooms, and technical labs. The compact floor plan and program division help drive an efficient use of building system demands. Unique glazing strategies at each room type have been used to lower energy, provide view opportunities, and reduce glare.
The manufacturing labs have open floor plans with large interior and exterior doors to allow equipment to be moved. The classrooms have demountable partitions to open up the space for large events and recruiting programs. Flexible office space has been allocated to allow manufacturers to work at the facility and to recruit candidates. Informal teaching spaces exist on each floor, increasing the opportunity for interaction.
“I am honored to have my name on this extraordinary facility that is a new standard for manufacturing education, and I am overwhelmed by the teamwork that has brought it to fruition.” – Gene Haas, Gene Haas Foundation
The Gene Haas Foundation, donated $1 million toward the project, which is named after the president and founder of Haas Automation, America’s leading builder of Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machine tools.
“I am honored to have my name on this extraordinary facility that is a new standard for manufacturing education, and I am overwhelmed by the teamwork that has brought it to fruition,” Haas said at the opening of CAMS in 2019.
Program Boasts a 100% Job Placement Rate for its Graduates
When it opened, all spots in the competitive advanced manufacturing program were filled. The program, which prepares graduates for careers as CNC machinists, toolmakers, and industrial technicians, along with marketing, sales, procurement, and supervisory jobs, is the only community college training program of its kind within 125 miles. It has a 100 percent job placement rate for graduates, with nearly all students securing work prior to graduation.
“This center allows our students to secure excellent jobs and helps the employers in our local manufacturing industry fill their need for skilled workers,” said Hudson Valley President Roger Ramsammy. “This is a perfect example of how the college and the community continue to work together to enrich our region’s economy and our future.”
CAMS enhances the Hudson Valley program that prepares graduates for immediate employment with high-tech manufacturing companies performing advanced machining processes that produce tooling and components used to make defense equipment, power generators, and aerospace apparatus.