Advanced Automotive Center Opens New Roads

Published 11.03.1998


Pennsylvania College of Technology will have additional roads to explore, thanks to a new automotive training facility. Among the unique options available to students at the center will be alternative fuel vehicle instruction, motorsports courses and state emission certification.

Penn College will dedicate the Advanced Automotive Technology Center during ceremonies set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the facility, located in the George Logue Industrial Park on Wahoo Drive in the west end of the city.

Automotive faculty will present a variety of demonstrations including an electric car, motorsports engine dynamometer, and emission testing. On hand for the event will be representatives from the automotive industry including Dave Dodds, technical training delivery team leader, and Pat McCormick, service training instructor, both with the Ford Customer Service Division. Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour also will participate.

"The center provides us lab space to expand our baccalaureate degree programming and it allows us the opportunity to explore such areas as alternative fuel vehicles, including compressed natural gas and electric vehicles," stated Colin W. Williamson, dean of the School of Transportation Technology. "It gives us a site for emission testing certification and a home for motorsports, including dedicated space to build race car chassis."

The Advanced Automotive Technology Center features a dedicated engine dynamometer testing cell, two chassis dynamometers (capable of 200-horsepower at the rear axles and speeds of up to 100 mph) to support emission and performance testing, a technology-enhanced classroom, and an individualized computer lab.

Students enrolled in the College's automotive technology management B.S. degree major have the opportunity to develop their senior "capstone" projects at the facility. The alternative fuel vehicle component of the center will support a new course within the bachelor degree. Pennsylvania State Emission Certification has already become a required course for most of the College's automotive curricula and the center also supports Penn College's automotive training efforts for professionals already in the field.

The College will open a new nine-credit competency credential in motorsports service technician in Fall 1999. The unique series of courses providing training in parts, systems and techniques used for race car service and construction will prepare individuals for entry-level employment as service technicians in the motorsports field. The credential will be offered solely to experienced, certified automotive technicians or full-time students enrolled in automotive majors at the College.

The two-acre site including the 7,600 square-foot building was purchased from Envirotest, Inc. last year. The facility was originally built by Envirotest for state emission testing, but never became fully operational. Over the past year, the College enhanced the site, creating the Advanced Automotive Technology Center.