“We’d like to thank all the area businesses that have helped with this project. We really appreciate the support of Dr. McGaughey and the school board in making this shop renovation happen,” said High School Principal Andy Pattee.

Pattee was referring to the massive renovation to the ag, welding, and wood and metal shops that is nearing completion.

The original shop facilities were built in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. They were not air conditioned, access to the shops was gained only by walking through classrooms and much of the equipment was outdated.

A tour of the renovated facility revealed new paint and new electrical service and air conditioning throughout.

New fume exhaust and dust collections systems will make the working environment not only healthier, but also more versatile, since the cleaned environment will allow for a broader range of activities. A finishing room is in the works that will be used for painting and will vent directly out.

A forced-air system to run pneumatic tools, which has fallen into disrepair, was replaced.

An added safety feature are auto shut-off buttons that will instantly shut off all machinery in case of an accident.

Among the newer tools students have access to are a foundry donated by Clow Valve Co. and a plasma CAM — computer-aided manufacturing — machine, which allows students to draw a design on computer. A piece of sheet metal is then placed on a grid and is cut exactly according to the specifications on the computer drawing.

“It’s amazing what the students have been able to make with this machine,” Pattee commented.

A hallway with two restrooms was installed between existing classrooms, so students have access to the shops without having to walk through a class.

“I’d really like to thank instructors Dave Bower, Dennis Park and Mike Striegel, who put in countless hours to make this project possible,” concluded Pattee.

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