FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Smith Field is the home of Ivy Tech’s new $2.3 million Aviation Center.
The 21,000 square-foot facility comes equipped with greater classroom space and hangar availability for the community college’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program. The newly dedicated facility provides triple the amount of space the program was previously given.
Sheena Nolin, the program’s chair, calls this a huge upgrade for her students. Last spring, 72 students crammed into two classrooms and one hangar, but the expansion will provide five classrooms for what has become a program of more than 100 students. Nolin says the increased space is motivation to continue growing the program.
“We want to grow the program. We also want to start looking at classes beyond the A & P (Airframe and Power plant). So people who have their A & P already, we can do, as they mentioned, composite training or non-destructive testing or even some entry level jobs as opposed to full licensed mechanics.”
One of the many speakers at the ribbon cutting was Joel Pierce, a student who began his study at Ivy Tech in 2009. Pierce says the change will allow for greater flexibility in scheduling for classes. He also says the training should improve.
“It's just a better facility, a better design for training so there are more tooling, more resources that's just specifically designed for aircraft maintenance training.”
Nolin says the opportunity to join the program is worth more than learning to turn a wrench.
“Aviation isn't just a career for most people that are in it. It's a passion. We kind of get a little addicted to aviation. It's very rare for somebody to walk away from aviation at any point in their life.”
In 2010, the average wage for an aircraft mechanic was more than $53,000.
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