Baxter International to pay $175,000 for CLC fabrication lab renovation
The fabrication lab at the College of Lake County, a space where students can use both traditional shop equipment and new technology like 3-D printers to design their work, will be getting a significant renovation this summer thanks to a new corporate partner.
Baxter International, the multibillion-dollar medical corporation based in Deerfield, will pay the college $175,000 to expand the existing lab and add new equipment. In return the space will be named "The Baxter Innovation Lab."
Engineering Professor Rob Twardock said when completed, the Baxter Innovation Lab will be set up to allow students "to design and build and create and brainstorm and fail and succeed and try again to build their designs and bring them to life."
Twardock said the lab won't be designed specifically for certain classes. Instead, it will support classes that already exist by providing new tools to students. In addition to 3-D printers, which work by fabricating designs bit by bit like a builder, there will be machines that work by starting with a material like a block of wood and cutting away everything not in the design, like a sculptor.
Twardock said they also hope to let the community take advantage of the Baxter Innovation Lab as well. The details haven't been worked out yet, but he said they might sell memberships to people -- and even local businesses -- so they can come in and use the lab to design and create.
Twardock said the lab also gives their students an opportunity to interact with professionals.
"Also, Baxter said they want to have involvement so that we can foster that collaboration between engineers who have all that experience and our students who are learning and designing and building things," Twardock said.
President Jerry Weber said this was one of the college's first forays into getting corporations to name sections of the building. Weber said he believed there was a benefit to the program and to the students to have the Baxter name on the lab.
The agreement, which was approved unanimously by the college's board of trustees, stipulates that the Baxter name will be attached to the lab for 20 years. The College of Lake County retains the right to terminate naming rights if adverse circumstances arise.
The renovation will be made in two phases. Baxter will pay $100,000 this summer to fund the first section of work, and Baxter will pay the remaining $75,000 next summer to finish the project. Twardock said they hope to open the lab to students and the community in the fall.