Think about all the ways automobiles have changed — in their designs, engineering, and technical innovations — over the past 30 years. Now, consider that three decades have passed since Renton Technical College last expanded its facilities to train students to become automotive technicians.
That will change in May when the college joins the future of automotive education and officially unveils its new Automotive Technology Complex, a $20 million renovation of four buildings totaling 63,550 square feet and housing the college’s automotive, auto body, and paint instructional programs. The complex will expand the Ford Automotive Student Service Education Training (ASSET) program, which prepares students for careers as professional automotive technicians working on Ford products in certified Automotive Service Excellence centers. It will also maximize teaching space and offer more individualized, hands-on activities for students.
In addition, the renovated facilities feature energy efficiencies, sound landscaping, and environmental protections — such as a water-based paint room — earning the school its first certified Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED, designation.
“This is a major step forward for Renton Technical College and its role in preparing the next generation of skilled auto specialists,” said college president Kevin McCarthy. “We are grateful to the state of Washington and to our donors for their investment in quality professional and technical education and in the future of our community.”
“Without the training and expertise of Renton Technical College, we would have a difficult time finding and training quality technicians in today’s market,” added Michael O’Brien, owner of O’Brien Auto Group. “The automotive partnership we have with (the college) will help us for many years to come.”
Renton Technical College’s roots in automotive training date back to World War II, when welders, mechanics, and other specialized workers turned to the college to acquire the skills necessary to work in war production factories.
The O’Brien Auto Group will join Conner Homes and Ford ASSET in sponsoring the grand opening celebration for the Automotive Technology Center, located at 3000 NE 4th Street, on May 11. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required online at www.rtc.edu/automotive-grand-opening.