The mission of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) is to provide competitive education opportunities to prepare men and women for careers in modern lean manufacturing, and to promote productive learning and research relationships among the manufacturing community, and the students and faculty of the University of Mississippi. The program was COST PER SQ FT$186.27FEATURED IN2012 Educational Interiors out of a growing desire expressed by manufacturing executives to hire graduates with a cross-disciplinary understanding of the manufacturing process, as well as business and accounting principles. It is the only undergraduate program of its kind in the United States.
The three-story building includes a simulated factory, classrooms, offices and conference rooms. The facility is registered for LEED certification. The university also was awarded an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant to expand the photovoltaic array planned for installation on the roof. The photovoltaic system of 431 solar panels and inverters produces 526,422 kilowatts of power annually, enough to supply at least 35 percent of the building’s energy needs. Faculty and students can monitor the system through a kiosk in the CME, or access real-time data on the Internet.
The first floor is the main educational floor housing the 12,000-square-foot factory area and three classrooms. The factory floor provides flexible manufacturing assembly lines for wood, metal and plastics/composites. The utilities on the factory floor have been designed so that any piece of equipment can be moved to any position needed to maximize product flow and thus aid in the teaching of lean manufacturing. One classroom is configured as a long-distance, interactive tiered-floor classroom. Two other classrooms seat up to 48 students each with configurable seating and audio/video projection aids.
The second floor serves as the main entrance. Upon entering the plaza lobby, visitors are greeted by displays of CME activities and a receptionist. This area also overlooks the first-floor manufacturing area. Beyond the plaza lobby, the boardroom is on the left, and offices line the hallway down the right side. The office space houses faculty, staff and Toyota executive-in-residence personnel. A catwalk overlooks the factory floor, and the south side of the building houses student desks and workspaces arranged to provide maximum interaction.
The third floor houses two small classrooms that also serve as video recording practice rooms for students making presentations. Care has been taken to maximize interaction areas while providing students an individual area to work and study.