Machine Tool Alum Provides Lead Gift for New School of Engineering

Dunwoody College of Technology is thrilled to announce a $2 million gift from Ray, ’65 Machine Tool, and Nylene Newkirk for the new School of Engineering.

School of Engineering Concept ImageryNewkirk founded Tape, Inc., which filed nine patents for fusion bonding thermoplastics and developed a proprietary line of machinery known as Hydra Sealers. He sold Tape, Inc. in 1987 and then purchased two local businesses, Teamvantage plastics injection molding and then Custom Mold Design, maker of precision molds.

Today, Newkirk’s business is the largest single employer in Forest Lake, and a global player in the medical, electronics, defense and industrial markets.

Newkirk is a 1989 recipient of the Dunwoody Alumni Entrepreneur Award and a former Trustee of the College, 1999-2011.

Transforming the Campus

Dunwoody College of Technology, a leader in technical education for more than a century, is taking a big step toward its next hundred years. The College unveiled plans for its new School of Engineering and a major renovation of its campus. The renovation, which will create more interactive learning spaces and enhance the overall student experience, was recently boosted by Newkirk’s donation.

The first phase of the new School of Engineering is a four-year Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, with other traditional engineering degrees to follow.

Dunwoody’s new bachelor degrees build on the College’s current expertise in training technicians for in-demand fields and were requested by and developed in concert with local industry. Engineering degrees will incorporate Dunwoody’s renowned method of real-world, applied, hands-on learning.

The College pioneered, and perfected over decades, an approach to technical education that places equal emphasis on providing students direct experience with the tools, techniques, materials and professional standards of their chosen industry as well as rigorous academic learning.

“We’re diversifying and expanding ways in which students can come to Dunwoody and study with us,” says President Rich Wagner. “More importantly, by doing so we help to bridge the skills gap across our region and meet the increasing workforce demands of industry, and class by class, brick by brick we’re staying committed to our mission of helping people change their lives. And, as always, we’re able to do that thanks in part to the ongoing and generous support of our industry partners and donor community.”

Physical Renovations to Encourage Collaboration,
Cater to Growing Enrollment

Physical renovations, additions and upgrades have all been designed in such a way as to encourage and promote the College’s immersive, hands-on teaching methodology, foster collaboration and enhance overall student life on campus.

Planning is already underway to create a state-of-the-art welcome center, to open up the lobby space and many of Dunwoody’s original high windows bricked over in the 1970s (originally done to reduce heating costs during the energy crisis of 1970s). Space for the School of Engineering will feature a two-story multi-functional learning environment that will house group work and presentation spaces as well as a virtualization and visualization lab to promote collaborative and immersive learning.

Over the next five to seven years the College will re-purpose no less than 53,000 square feet of the existing campus. The expansion will come from a remodel and fill-in of the current, under-utilized gymnasium; the employment of unused space in the main building’s attic; and the extension of spaces in several other areas.

“Our plan for updates and renovation is focused on enhancing the campus footprint we already have,” Wagner says. “We’re making design choices that preserve Dunwoody’s heritage and ensure the College’s physical spaces truly reflect and promote our teaching philosophy and methodology. That means open, collaborative spaces; innovative reuse of existing space; adaptive environments that encourage even more exploration and engagement between faculty members and our students. We’re focused on creating a better overall experience for prospective students, current students and campus visitors. It’s about creating spaces that better reflect our status as a leader in technical education.”

Program Additions Meet Industry Needs

In addition to the School of Engineering, Dunwoody recently added a Bachelor of Architecture program. The program is structured as a two plus three stackable credential, awarding an Associate of Applied Science degree after the first two years and a Bachelor of Architecture degree upon completion of the final three years. The first Architecture class will graduate in 2017. The college is also accepting applications for the first Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with classes beginning August 2016.

In their first two years architecture students will become experts in current design and building technologies, making them ideal employees in building design and construction industries. In their final three years, they will become leaders in the profession of architecture as well as in the advancement of design and building technologies.

The addition of the School of Engineering and the Bachelor of Architecture exemplifies how Dunwoody stays true to its mission of providing a world-class, hands-on, applied education that meets industry needs.