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A part of the auto industry's past will soon train those who will design its future

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A former home of Michigan’s auto industry will soon train future automotive engineers.

Kettering University is moving ahead with plans to turn part of Flint’s old Chevy in the Hole site into an automotive research hub.

“This is the next generation,” says Robert McMahan, the president of the Kettering University, “The next phase in (Chevy in the Hole’s) long legacy.”

Kettering University will use a two million dollar grant from the GM Foundation to build an automotive research center on the former plant site.

“It’s important to Kettering.   It’s important to Flint,” says Gerald Johnson, GM vice president for operational excellence, “But it’s also important to the way of life that we have come to enjoy in the U.S.”

A significant part of the legacy of Chevy in the Hole is as the site of the sitdown strike in the 1930’s.   

Another legacy is the pollution left behind.

Last week, dignitaries held a “ground building”.   Instead of putting ceremonial shovels in the ground, the shovels were placed in a pile of dirt dumped on the site.    “Ground breaking” was not an option for the brownfield site where the research center will be built.

The Chevy in the Hole site has underground years of environmental cleanup. 

Kettering University’s president declined to say how long it will take to build the entire planned research center or how much it will cost.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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