Delta College Downtown Midland Center’s “Green” Design Principles and State-of-the-Art Labs Support High-Growth Jobs

By Amy DeGeer Roten
Eighteen months after the groundbreaking ceremony, the new Delta College Downtown Midland Center is in the home stretch toward completion. I spoke with Nick Bovid, Director of Facilities Management about the facility’s state-of-the-art training labs that support high-growth sector jobs; sustainable, innovative building design that promotes “green” principles; the anticipated grand opening date; and more.

Q: What is your role? Give a little background on yourself, please.

A: I oversee all facility-related issues at Delta College, such as grounds maintenance, electrical and mechanical maintenance, construction and renovation projects, insurance, risk management, and sustainability.

Raised in Midland, MI, I graduated from Midland High School and went to Michigan Tech for Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Central Michigan University for an MBA. 

For three years, I have been the Director of Facility Management at Delta College. Before that, I worked for Dow Corning and MidMichigan Health.

Q: What innovative and/or sustainable building designs were incorporated into this facility?

A: This building was designed, constructed, and is currently in the process of being certified as a LEED green building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This certification program provides a framework for a healthy, high-energy, and cost-efficient building. Benefits of LEED certification ensure construction pollution prevention, improved indoor air quality, water use reduction, and several other “green” principles. 

Currently, we are aiming to achieve LEED “Gold” certification.

Q: Share a little about LEED certification, why it’s special, and why it’s important?  

A: Delta College places a strong emphasis on sustainability and has achieved national recognition for these efforts – including being ranked #6 nationally by AASHE in their Sustainable Campus Index for Associate Colleges. The last several major construction projects have all been LEED certified and this one is no exception.

Q: What are some interesting building design elements?              

A: We were able to incorporate a green/living roof on the west end of this project – a first for Delta College and I’m pretty sure for downtown Midland. This type of roof has several benefits including increased insulation values that result in energy cost savings, improved stormwater management, and extended roof life. This area will have tables and chairs for students, staff, and faculty to use once the weather warms up and has a nice view of parts of downtown Midland.

Q: From a facilities management perspective, what was the most challenging part of the new construction?

A: The COVID-19 pandemic. It shut down construction for several weeks in March of 2020 and created a ripple effect on the schedule. Construction workers were hesitant to return on-site, and once construction was allowed to resume, we still faced challenges getting materials fabricated and delivered.

The building was originally scheduled to open for Winter 2021 classes, but unfortunately due to the ongoing pandemic and a large shift to online learning, this has been moved to Fall 2021.

Q: Tell me a little about the new training labs as compared to the labs at the current site and how they are better?

A: The existing Midland Center over on Wheeler Street was built in the 1960s. It is a former Catholic girls’ high school designed by Alden Dow associates. Delta College has operated out of this building since the early 1990s with little modifications to the original construction.

The existing CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program on Wheeler is in a room that was not built to accommodate this kind of hands-on, simulation-type of instruction. The rooms were designed for arts & crafts and physical science instruction.

The newly constructed Midland Center has state-of-the-art, built-for-purpose spaces that include a CNA lab, a biology lab, a chemistry lab, and a flexible classroom/lab designed to hold a variety of different courses such as robotics or hydraulics.

Q: What curriculums are of focus at the Midland Center? 

A: Regarding programs of study, students will find a variety of classes to choose from at the new location. Due to COVID-19, many courses are online at this time. However, more in-person options will be added to the schedule when it’s feasible. To give you an idea, here is a list of Downtown Midland Center Programs of Study:

  • Associate of Arts – Transfer program
  • Associate of Science – Transfer program
  • Certified Nursing Assistant – Job Training program
  • Chemistry Technology – Associate of Applied Arts
  • Clinical Medical Assistant – Advanced Certificate
  • Computer Science and Information Technology – Associate of Applied Science (Cybersecurity, IT Support, Programming with Web & Game Development Tracks
  • Digital Forensics (Corporate Track) – Associate of Applied Arts
  • Entrepreneur/Small Business – Associate in Business Studies
  • Environmental Technology – Associate of Applied Arts
  • Health Foundations — Advanced Certificate
  • Management (3+1 Northwood track) – Associate in Business Studies – Transfer program

Q: With virtual classrooms being an option, how many students are anticipated to be in downtown Midland every day?

A: This is difficult to determine at this time. Many classes have shifted to online instruction except for classes that require face-to-face and hands-on learning, such as health professions (certified nursing assistant, dental hygiene, etc.) and vocational programs (welding, auto technician, etc.). We’d like to have as many students fact-to-face as possible but we need to keep everyone safe and follow all necessary State and local guidelines. 

Q: What is the total capacity of the new facility – how many students can it accommodate?

A: The building was designed to support the enrollment of 650 students per semester. 

Q: What is the anticipated “grand opening” date?

A: The building will be open for Fall 2021 classes which begin in late August.

For more information, visit Delta College – Downtown Midland Center.