NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant worth $586,900. College officials said Monday (Feb. 24) the funding will be used to purchase equipment for the school’s integrated design lab (IDL), develop enhanced curriculum and expand the impact of the new lab in the community and in higher education.
The grant will go into effect on March 1, according to college officials.
“This grant will allow us to expand the fabrication capabilities of the Integrated Design Lab, elevate our curriculum in design-related fields, and help us form strategic partnerships with area industry and four-year institutions,” said Christine Davis, dean of business and computer information. “We will also be able to expand the impact of the college’s investment in the lab.”
The recently completed IDL provides additional classroom and lab space for students pursuing programs such as the fine arts, construction, computer information systems and design. The new equipment made possible by the NSF grant will include surveying equipment for civil CAD programs and land surveying, additional kilns to expand the capacity of the ceramics lab, larger industrial-size printers to increase 3D printing capabilities, woodworking equipment as well as metalworking equipment for sculpture lab and construction management lab areas to support design and fabrication.
“With this grant, we plan to build powerful partnerships between small business owners, local schools, communities, material suppliers, fabricators, contractors and civic leaders and create new opportunities for learning, development, creativity and employment,” said Megan Bolinder, dean of workforce development at the college.
The grant will also allow the college to enhance the curriculum of the lab’s programs by providing a quality, accessible and affordable education for those who wish to engage their passions and enhance their employability through integrated, interdisciplinary design thinking.