Moore Tech Expands With Welding School, Looks Toward Next Goal

By Bill Dries

For the first time in its 80-year history, the William R. Moore School of Technology has expanded beyond its Poplar Avenue campus.

Moore Tech’s new School of Welding formally opened last week three blocks from the 80-year old school’s campus, the first expansion in the school’s history off the Poplar Avenue campus.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

The trade school, now known as Moore Tech, opened its new School of Welding at 475 N. Bellevue Blvd. Thursday, March 31, in a renovated building that was once a furniture store.

The $4.4 million project was funded mostly by private foundations and donations as well as in-kind and corporate donations. The largest single piece of funding was a federal U.S. Labor Department grant of $1.67 million.

The facility will eventually include a capacity for 180 welding students to train.

There are currently 90 students working in the school, which includes individual booths as well as robotic welding computer training.

“That thing’s going to put us out of work,” a welder touring the school Thursday said to the operator of a Lincoln Electric robot welder being demonstrated.

“Somebody’s got to run it,” the operator said as a welding screen was moved into place and he guided the robotic arm via a computer tablet.

“No mask,” another welder commented as the sparks from the weld were filtered through a blue shield across the front of the rig.

“Can you do a weave?” another welder asked of a welding maneuver other students at Moore Tech have been practicing.

Their practice included making the workstations, including tables and chairs and braces.

Moore Tech president Skip Redmond called the facility the “premier welding school in the South.”

It is also a part of Moore Tech’s recent expansion and partnership with the city’s medical device industry.

Students began using the welding school a day before the formal opening ceremony.

Another robotic welder, a Torchmate 4X4, cut shapes out of steel, including the outline of an elk in less than two minutes as several onlookers donned welders’ masks to get a closer look at the machine in operation.

Redmond, who has been president of Moore Tech for three years, is leading an overhaul of not only the school’s technology but the job training focus of the institution. He said his next goal is a more robust industrial electricity program.

“We are focused on trying to improve our industrial electricity program – bring it up to industry standards,” Redmond said. “We’ve gotten several grants. We’ve got another $200,000 to fund.”

Redmond also sees a need for more plant maintenance workers given high retirement rates forecasted in the near future in the sector.

“A lot of your plant maintenance folks are older,” he said.