The new Markley Motors Automotive Technology Laboratory on the Larimer Campus gives students more opportunities for hands-on training in a brighter and safer learning environment and opportunities to turn new skills into a job.
The laboratory opened in January 2015 as the NATEF- and ASE-certified Automotive Technology Program moved out of 40-year-old space in Redcloud Peak, now under renovation to become the design center for other career/technical programs.
Support from Local Company
The lab space is named after Markley Motors of Fort Collins, a fourth-generation auto dealership that has committed $100,000 to support the FRCC Automotive Technology Program.
More Space, More Vehicle Bays
Automotive Technology faculty and students alike marvel at the additional space, additional bays, and two smaller labs dedicated to engine and transmission work. In-ground hoists make for a cleaner floor. The tool storage area is three times larger. Outside storage units keep classroom equipment out of the way until needed. Parking of the service fleet, which is being upgraded and modernized, is better organized.
The new lab is not without new equipment. The first new purchases, thanks to federal Perkins funding, were Hunter racks and alignment systems. Oh, and there are more bays – 14, precisely the maximum number of students allowed in a class.
A Better Learning Environment
“We have more hands-on time in the lab,” says Fred Rudd, program director. “It’s that simple, but it’s the truth. Our students will be working in a state-of-the-art shop. Our classrooms are vastly improved. They’re separated from the shop area, so they’re quieter. It’s a better learning environment.”
The two smaller labs also improve the learning environment. In the old location on campus, engine and transmission labs were done using bay space. You couldn’t have a vehicle up on a lift in the bay at the same time.
Students Taking Ownership
Students are upbeat about the new lab, Fred says. “I think students really like it,” he says. “They’re cleaning up their areas much better. They’ve really taken ownership. That’s nice, from my perspective.”
Booming Job Outlook
Students also are upbeat about job opportunities, getting work even before finishing the program.
“The job outlook is booming,” Fred says. “We’re getting two or three calls a week from companies looking for students to go to work right away.”
For example, he said, of the 14 students in the evening section of classes, 10 already are working in the field.