The University of Michigan-Flint has received a $30 million commitment from the Michigan legislature to help foster the creation of an innovation & technology complex by constructing a new building north of the university's William S. White Building.
The first phase of the project, a 14,000-square-foot building, received construction approval from the University of Michigan Board of Regents at its March meeting. It will feature state-of-the-art instructional laboratories and areas designed to encourage collaboration and interdisciplinary research. At an estimated cost of $10 million, that phase of the project will be funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and UM-Flint gifts and resources.
The second phase, at a cost of $40 million, will consist of roughly 50,000 square feet of space adjacent to phase one. The state's $30 million funding will be used toward this construction phase.
Formal advocacy for the project began October 2022 with UM-Flint's submission of an official request to the State Budget Office for consideration. In April 2023, university officials testified about the project's need to the Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee of the State Legislature.
"UM-Flint's College of Innovation & Technology was launched during the pandemic and incubated using existing campus resources, but its size and anticipated future growth would quickly constrain its ability to meet programmatic needs," said Christoper Pearson, dean of the CIT. "The investment in this new facility was needed to provide the infrastructure to educate and train students for well-paying careers within technology-related fields. It will provide essential space for research and innovation, enhancing the ability of faculty to work with students, research novel solutions, and engage with new industry partners throughout Michigan."
The CIT was established to educate and prepare students for future economies by providing degree programs in high-demand fields with outstanding career opportunities that play an increasingly crucial role in Michigan's technology-driven future. Current programs include cybersecurity, software engineering, machining & automation, and sustainable & renewable energy. Future programming will include artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, human-centered design, and electrical & computer engineering, among others.
"As the CIT becomes a transformative leader in the polytechnic experience, it will drive economic development in Flint, the Genesee County region, and the state of Michigan by engaging with champions of industry to create a sustainable next-generation community through innovation and partnerships in research and education," said Donna Fry, interim chancellor at UM-Flint. "Through community programming, such as Technology Fridays and the Innovation & Technology Scholars Program, and by hosting trainings for upskilling and reskilling workers, the complex will be fully utilized by UM-Flint and the surrounding community."
Robb King is the director of marketing and communications at UM-Flint. He can be reached at email@example.com.