The Granite Falls auto body program is no more, and come Saturday: everything must go.

The Granite Falls auto body program is no more, and come Saturday: everything must go.
After a decade of declining enrollment, the Minnesota West Community and Technical College of Granite Falls offered its final Auto Body class the past year. This Saturday, January 11 at 10:00 a.m., a campus auction will make the program’s associated machinery, tools and equipment available to the highest bidder––everything from a custom built 1929 Ford Coupe V-8 to a SprayBake combination paint spray booth and oven.
According to auctioneer Don Fitzner, of Fitzner Auctions, there is a fair mount of interest that has been expressed toward the event, with several individuals inquiring from adjoining states. Given the number of items, their general condition and the diversity of individuals that such items are expected to appeal to, Fitzner indicated he was not surprised.
“This ought to appeal to the public in general,” he said. There’s welders, floors jacks, lots of tools––just a variety of things that most people can use ... It’s good equipment,” he added. “When you have a school like that, they buy good equipment and do a good job maintaining it.”
Due to the scale of the sale, Fitzner said that auction items will be available for inspection beginning at 8:00 a.m. the day of the auction. Everything will be available “as is” and a  forklift will be on site for loading.
Individuals that would like a complete list of available items can contact Fitzner at 320-212-3296. Otherwise, locals will find a number of flyers for the event post in storefronts around town.
Auto body building
As for what is expected to fill the void left by the Auto Body Program,     there is a very good chance that the building housing the class will be simply torn down.
Recently the MnSCU Board of Trustees has formed working groups charged  with envisioning  long-term campus-wide directives.  Generated by those conversations a variety of initiatives including focused efforts to identify do away with expense associated with excess facility space  while also updating and/or undertaking new construction associated with [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] STEM.
 These priorities are reflected in the 2014 fiscal year budget,  along with $268.5 million the Capital Program requests, that will be submitted for consideration by Governor Mark Dayton during the upcoming 2014 legislative session.
Included in that proposal is the two-fold request of $1.2 million to update the 40 year old fluid power facilities in tandem with the removal of the no longer in use auto body structure.
“Students are studying in a way that doesn’t use much space,” said former college President Ric Shrubb this past August in regard to the driving force behind the decision.
As one of only 11 of the in demand programs in the nation, drawing students from as far away as Texas, Campus Dean Linda DeGriselles says the intention is to make Minnesota’s West Fluid Power Program a cornerstone of the Minnesota West Granite Falls campus in the years to come––in effect welcoming in the new while letting go of the old.