FAIRMONT – Fairmont High School opened its $ 6.7 million career development building on Monday. Construction of the 13,200-square-foot facility is expected to begin this week with an expected completion date of June 2022.
The building will be located on the south side of the high school building, next to the existing professional area. It will include a classroom designed for HVAC, an expanded classroom for the carpentry shop, an expanded auto shop, and a fabrication lab.
Chad Pike, project manager for Kraus-Anderson, said the building is expected to be up and running by the first of the year and then they will start work on the interior and the roof. He explained that the high school building and the new facility will be connected by an outdoor walkway covered with a canopy.
A large number of stakeholders were present for the inauguration ceremony, including local leaders, school administrators and board members, donors and project managers.
Superintendent Andy Traetow said of the project: “One of our goals was to improve opportunities and access for all students, not only locally but in our region. It’s an exciting time as we begin this journey together. “
Traetow said the new facility could benefit not only students, but the school’s various professional departments that already exist, including trades in construction, welding, automotive, cooking, agriculture, l aeronautics and commercial education.
Traetow thanked the community and voters for their support for the project. In February of this year, a referendum on the bonds of $ 6.73 million was passed, with 67% of the community in favor of the project. He also thanked the community for recognizing the need to develop education and work experiences for students in the region.
Traetow also recognized the professional advisory committee, school board members, school staff, former trustees Joe Brown and Jake Tietje, who are no longer in the district but who Traetow said had the foresight and l commitment to move the project forward.
He also highlighted those who made donations, large and small. Some large donations came from CHS, Kahler Automation and the Greischar family.
Finally, Traetow thanked the students who were at the ceremony, as well as the 800 others in the school building, without whom he said the project would not be possible.
“You are ultimately the reason we’re moving forward with this. To give you the skills and job opportunities that can help you move on to the next phase of your life, ” said Traetow.
Two students currently enrolled in the school’s vocational classes include sophomore Jacob Weimers and junior Sawyer Waterbury, who study small engines and construction trades.
Waterbury said he wanted to pursue a professional career.
“It will always be necessary. They want to do more, add CVC and other things to give us more to learn ”, said Waterbury.
The two will still be in school when the new building is completed and Weimers said he was looking forward to taking classes in the new building.
Brad Johnson is the high school carpentry teacher. Several years ago, Johnson was also teaching STEM classes, in addition to the carpentry workshop.
“Now I am a 100% wood teacher because I have enough children to fill my lessons” Johnson said.
He said the key elements the project will provide his class with are a larger carpentry shop and an indoor facility to build.
“We can build all year round without worrying about the weather and that’s very important” he said.
Johnson said he was very excited about the opportunities to involve students in projects, as well as the scale of the projects.
“We can go beyond storage sheds and build fishing houses, mini houses, or build a house. We will have an incredible space to do it ”, Johnson said.