When Tom Nelson’s industrial arts students returned to school Jan. 2, they started learning in a whole new building.
Instead of traveling back and forth from the high school to the shop location downtown every day, students can now walk out of the high school to the new CTE building on the north end of the property.
The district received a $225,000 South Dakota Workforce Education grant through the South Dakota Department of Education last year. The school board approved the rest of the funding to construct a wood shop, classroom, welding, small engine area and bus barn.
The building features a large wood shop with a small roll up door to bring in lumber and materials and two large sliding barn doors with future plans to construct a house in the shop.
“Eventually the plan is that we’ll build a house in this area and then we’ll need to be able to get it out the doors,” said Wayne Larsen, operations manager.
Students in the district have never built a house before but superintendent Jennifer Lowery says they are working with different community partners to partner with in the future to construct a house.
In addition to the wood shop, the building also has a 900-square-foot classroom plus two bathrooms and an eye wash station. In the last portion of the CTE building is the welding and small engine shop. That space will have eight stalls for welding plus a small roll up door to bring in vehicles with small engines.
Larsen noted that DeGeest Steel Works is helping them build the welding stalls and also donated several of the welders.
The CTE portion of the building also has a bus wash station since that needs concrete and a heated area for washing the buses. The siding in that area is all aluminum so it does not rust when it gets wet and the lights are waterproof.
While the CTE portion of the building is nearing completion and students are able to use it, the bus barn portion is a work in progress. The bus barn is broken down into four sections with a firewall between each section.
The section closest to the CTE section will house the half a dozen mini vans and suburbans. The next section to the west will house the five mini buses. The last two sections will have buses stacked two deep in each stall and has room for up to 14 buses. The building is 100 feet deep.
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