Welding institute buys Experiment Farm Road property


By Matt Clevenger

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TROY — The Hobart Institute of Welding Technology (HIWT) Board of Directors has announced the purchase of a 66.72-acre property located on Experiment Farm Road.

Located next to Pella Corporation and Brightworks Restoration, and bordered by US Interstate 75 on the east, the land is currently undeveloped. The property was purchased for just over $2 million in December of 2023, HIWT President and CEO Tom Funderburg said.

“We didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity,” Funderburg said. “We saw that land as being a way to invest back into the city.”

The property was purchased from the Troy Development Council (TDC).

“The TDC was thrilled to work with our workforce development partner Hobart Institute of Welding,” TDC CEO Joseph Graves said. “Although there are currently no plans for the property, the Board of Directors of the TDC look forward to continuing to work with officials at HIWT to facilitate the development of the property in the future.”

“There are a number of possibilities we can think of to use that land for,” Funderburg said. “That plan’s still coming.”

One option under consideration is the creation of student housing, Funderburg said.

“That would be one consideration for that land, to have housing units or dorm-style housing for students while they’re here,” he said. “There are a variety of other things that we could look into, but that’s an immediate need that has always existed for us.”

“We’ve never offered housing,” Funderburg said.

Located on Trade Square West, HIWT currently features a 12-acre campus housing approximately 330 welding stations. Offering six and ten-month programs, the institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational facility.

More information can be found online at www.welding.org.

One of the country’s oldest welding schools, HIWT was founded in the 1930s by the Hobart Brothers.

“They were engineers and inventors,” HIWT Director of Education Charlie Carpenter said. “When they started building this welding equipment and making electrodes, nobody knew how to use it. If you purchased their equipment, they would train you for free; that’s how the school actually began.”

“It was designed by the Hobart Brothers to train welders both for their company and for the industry,” Funderburg said. “It’s just grown from there.”

“The demand for welders is still very high,” Carpenter said. “We have almost 300 employers who are posting jobs with us, with almost 3,000 positions available, so the demand’s extremely high.”

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