Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) recently opened its new $40 million Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
“It is not an understatement to say this is a game-changing day in the history of the college,” said OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon. “It’s 120,000 square feet and millions of dollars in advanced technology, a facility built to be toured.”
The facility has abundant natural light, which officials said is a reflection of modern manufacturing facilities. Its second floor includes an expansive walkway that overlooks the first-floor labs and collaborative spaces, which have ceilings high enough to accommodate airplanes. The upstairs also houses classroom space for computer repair, drafting, cybersecurity, prototyping and information technology.
The center’s opening was celebrated by local and state stakeholders, including Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe.
“We hear about workforce development all the time, and a lot of politicians talk about workforce development,” Kehoe said. “This is workforce development. You actually have a physical facility that stretches beyond anyone’s possible imagination.”
The center will serve as home to seven of OTC’s technical training programs: automation and robotics, cybersecurity, drafting and design, IT infrastructure, manufacturing technology, mechatronics and precision machining.
Roughly 15,000 square feet is designated as industry partner space, where local companies can train employees, create operational processes for new equipment, and conduct research and development.