FHS Career Center nearing completion | News, sports, jobs

Above: Alex Schmidt, co-principal of Vermont High School, points to the newly installed equipment at the new career center’s lumber shop.

Vermont – The new Career and Technical Education Center at Vermont High School is nearing completion before the next school year.

Work on the $6.7 million facility, located on the south side of the high school building, began in October 2021. It is being built by Krause Anderson.

There were shipping delays that affected the construction schedule.

Despite these delays, management is confident that the facility will be fully operational and able to meet students’ needs at the start of the school year.

“It will definitely be at a stage where it will be operational and we are confident that we will have classes there on the first day of school,” Supervisor Andy Traito said.

Most aspects of the building are either completed or rapidly approaching completion. Workers are currently taking the final steps to install the center’s plumbing and electrical systems, as well as some other equipment and fixtures that have recently arrived. Once the Kraus-Anderson construction trailer is removed, the district plans to add an additional level of black roofing to a section of the parking lot before school starts to avoid complications with school bus logistics.

The building is still awaiting delivery of boiler pumps, one loft door, and rooftop heating and air conditioning units. A temporary air conditioning system was installed earlier this summer, and could continue to cool the building in place of a permanent system at the start of the school year.

In the coming weeks the building will be subject to inspection with the state building inspector. After passing the examination, employees will be given permission to bring in furniture and allow the general public to enter the center.

“I cannot overstate how grateful we are for the community support we have received in moving this project forward and the real excitement we have for our students and faculty,” Traito said.

At this point, the area plans to host open houses and tours so the public can view the interior of the building. Since the center is awaiting examination, it cannot provide a specific date at this time.

Altogether, the center consists of four basic components; New lumber shop, fabrication lab, HVAC and plumbing facility and two farming classrooms.

The new lumber shop in the center is twice the size of the school’s former shop. Woodshop equipment has been installed and is currently connected to the sawdust collection system. The large vacuum powering the system has arrived and is ready for installation outside the building. The new facility will allow more students to work on larger and more complex projects. The school’s former lumber workshop will be converted into a laboratory for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes.

The Fabrication Lab is a very large space where students can work on construction projects in a controlled indoor environment. The large overhead door has arrived in the manufacturing plant and can be opened and closed manually, but work continues on its final control system. There are plans for the students to build storage sheds in the new space, and in the future the district plans to bring in larger and more complex projects. One suggestion involves students contributing to projects that can then be inspected by licensed contractors and donated to nonprofit organizations in the area.

The center’s new HVAC and Plumbing Center will contain stations to practice industry techniques, and will give Vermont students access to a resource rarely found in a high school environment.

“We toured a lot of high schools and community colleges across southern Minnesota and northern Iowa. No high schools have HVAC,” co-director Alex Schmidt said.

The two Auxiliary Cultivation chapters were largely completed. After inspecting the building, staff will be able to move furniture and other equipment, at which point the classes will be complete.

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