Parkes Automotive Technology Center
Constructed in 1970
The Parkes Automotive Technology Center at Penn College is one of the oldest postsecondary automotive instructional programs in the nation; classes were first offered nearly a century ago.
Major industry sponsors attest to the quality of automotive education available in this facility, which was rededicated in 2010 following an extensive renovation.
George H. Parkes
Dr. George H. Parkes, who served as the director of Williamsport Technical Institute from 1941-52, was a vocational teacher at Williamsport High School when the first automotive class was offered. Hailed as a "mechanic with a Ph.D.," Dr. Parkes entered the field of education in 1920, armed with a degree in mechanical engineering and experience as a railroad mechanic. He spent nearly 40 years in Williamsport as a teacher and administrator.
Projects on Display
The 2010 renovation of the automotive facility was part of a $45.27 million campus building program.
In addition to automotive and collision repair programs that support the most advanced technology vehicles, Penn College offers an automotive restoration degree that provides opportunities for students to work on models that include the most prestigious and recognizable names in automobile history.
Penn College student projects have been displayed at the Antique Automobile Club of America Museum.
Inside the Automotive Technology Center (ATC)
Autos on shop floor
The first auto repair class – with one student and one automobile – was taught on the campus in 1920. Instruction took place outdoors, under the bleachers of a football field that was located behind Bardo Gymnasium.
"Unit 1," built under the leadership of Dr. Parkes, was believed to be one of the first automotive instructional facilities built by a school.
Dr. Parkes' family came to the Automotive Technology Center to celebrate the College's "Diamond 10" anniversary in 1999.
A rededication ceremony celebrated expansion of the facility in 2010.