FLINT (WJRT) - (04/28/15) - Tuesday, General Motors announced an investment of millions of dollars for a Mid-Michigan university.
It could give rise to a new era of automotive achievement.
Investments totaling $4 million will go toward two milestone projects on the Kettering campus.
It's not a typical "ground-breaking", but still an earth-moving event that could help Flint's recovery and growth.
General Motors says it will spend millions to help build two state of the art facilities at Kettering.
Kettering President Robert McMahan commented on the Tuesday morning event, held at the "Chevy in the Hole" site.
"Not only (does it) represent the future and investments in the future, but also positions Flint as a center again of the development of state of the art automobiles, state of the art vehicles and vehicle technology," he said.
The first will turn the old "Chevy in the Hole" site into an outdoor automotive research and testing facility, where students can gain valuable "real world" experience.
The second adds a powertrain research lab to the C.S. Mott Science and Engineering School.
"To image this as a test track for hybrid vehicles and alternative energy, autonomous vehicle technology all happening right here along the banks of the Flint River, this is going to be a place that makes history again in the 21st Century," said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.
That, in turn, could make Kettering and Flint a magnet for businesses looking for employees, information and other opportunities in the future.
"This university is very important for the automobile industry. It's important to get our students involved with S.T.E.M.. It's really a university that's important to making a difference when it comes to manufacturing," said Vivian Picard, General Motors Foundation president.
"It keeps us on the map for one of the top engineering schools around, and I think a lot of great research and stuff is going to come out of here," said Hannah Fox, a Kettering junior from Davison.
Other students on hand for the announcement are also excited about the investment in their future, including Flint native and Kettering senior Rhonda Clark.
"This is going to be a very trans-formative opportunity for the students to apply what we learned in the classroom and to use that hands-on experience to put two and two together," she said.
and Adam Cole, another Kettering senior from Troy, Michigan, whose grandfather Edward Cole, was a former president of Chevrolet and Kettering alumnus,
"Having a facility such as the proving grounds on campus, any gear-head in the U.S. will want to come here because of the racetrack that students have access to," said Adam Cole, a Kettering senior from Troy, Michigan, whose grandfather is Edward Cole, a former president of Chevrolet and Kettering alumnus.
The powertrain research facility should be completed in about a year, and the automotive research area about a year after that.