University with GM roots opens $63 million learning center in Michigan


Kettering University has opened a $63 million campus facility that will benefit America’s next generation of automotive talent.

The Learning Commons is a four-story, 105,000-square-foot multi-purpose building designed for collaborative learning. Kettering Universitydisciplines, including students who benefit from the school’s long history of educating automotive industry talent, said Kettering President Robert McMann.

Kettering University in Flint, Mich., as an automotive trade school. It was founded in 1919 and has acquired a number of prominent automobile leaders. General Motors CEO Mary Barra. Operating under various names since then, it was once known as the General Motors Institute.

The shared property, which opened last month, is meant for students and teachers to collaborate. There are no classrooms or offices in the building, McMahan said. Instead, the building will feature movable furniture, natural lighting, a rooftop garden and headlining like an automotive backdrop. BorgWarner Bistro, according to the release.

The 15,000-square-foot building will house 3D printers, design workstations and other equipment and machinery, the statement said.

The position is to encourage teamwork across boundaries and domains.

“They want a department that has a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, an automotive engineer and an industrial engineer, a marketer, a salesperson. [and] Advertiser. You want them all in one room,” McMahan said. “That’s how business is done.”

Sometimes the creations take place in the coffee shop, rather than in the space designated for it, McMahan said. The Learning Commons should simulate a hypothetical coffee bar where students and staff who wouldn’t normally cross paths now have access, he said.

“It’s a very fluid, very stimulating environment,” McMahan said.

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