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Kenmare School Board hosts vo-ag open house

Kenmare’s school board members have been waiting a long time to showcase the newly completed vo-ag building that was first planned nearly two years ago.

5/24/16 (Tue)

Open House at new Ag Building . . . From the mezzanine, a group of people tour the new, $2 million vo-ag building which was the site of a public open house on May 18. After several initial delays, the project began and since then has been on budget and on time. EAPC Architects designed the building and Consolidated Construction was the builder.

By Marvin Baker

Kenmare’s school board members have been waiting a long time to showcase the newly completed vo-ag building that was first planned nearly two years ago.

On Wednesday they got their opportunity with an open house that was scheduled to conclude just before an activities banquet was to begin.
Most of the school board members and administration were on hand to give tours and answer questions anyone may have had. EAPC Engineering and Consolidated Construction personnel were also there to discuss technical aspects of the building.

From the well-lit shop to attractive cupboards in the classrooms to a mezzanine that will be used mostly for storage, it’s all brand new and mostly empty.

But that will change when vo-ag instructor Ben Curdy begins moving equipment into the new shop this week.

“I’m getting pretty excited,” Curdy said. “This will increase excitement. It’s already good, but this will provide more opportunities.”

The current shop, in the northwest part of the school building, is full and doesn’t have the room to accommodate all the students and/or FFA members.

“Right now we’re stacked on top of each other and this will spread things out and open options for projects and technologies,” Curdy said. “I think it will get more kids involved. A wider variety of things will address a lot of interests.”

He said kids today are more technology oriented so instead of just bringing a combine into the building to rebuild the engine, other students can be working on the GPS and laser guidance systems.

Curdy sees the new building as a blessing for the Kenmare FFA chapter as well. He said sometimes there are four teams practicing every day at the same time and they’re all in one place.

The new building will allow teams to be in the classrooms, one in the shop and on the mezzanine so they can have their own privacy.
“This is going to give us options,” Curdy said. “This will take care of a lot of interests.”

School Board Chairman Doug Miller said the building is on schedule despite the school year ending in about a week. He said it wasn’t planned to be open for this school year and will be ready in the fall when students return to campus.

“There’s little things to do like touching up,” Miller said. “Otherwise we’re getting full power this week, the floors are getting sealed and classroom chairs are here.”

On Wednesday, the brand new building was basically empty. And as Curdy begins moving items in, the space is going to fill quickly.
“We’ll plan on a grand opening before school starts with the teachers and students,” Miller said. “That will be about the end of August.”
Miller said the shop and classroom area is built for two teachers, who would each have their own office. Each classroom can accommodate 25 students.

Superintendent Duane Mueller believes the shop is going to provide more opportunities for a wider range of students, but just the newness of it will create some excitement within the program.

“I see the numbers going up,” Mueller said. “And this will provide opportunities for the students.”

According to Miller, the building came in on budget, but there are numerous pieces of equipment the new shop will need to get it student ready for the fall semester.

As a result, a poster on an easel was placed in the shop area to show what the cost of each item is and what has already been donated.
“If anyone wants to donate, we’re asking the public and businesses to help outfit the shop or donate cash to outfit the building,” Miller said. “We the board and the administration will be the fiscal custodian with any money donated.”

As an example, Gooseneck Implement donated $4,000 to the department and John Deere donated two wrench sets and tool box.
Fourteen items and their costs were listed on the poster and Miller is hoping it is 100 percent completed by fall.

Katelyn Kostad, A Kenmare High School graduate, and recent graduate of North Dakota State University with a master’s degree in architecture, was an intern for EAPC during the vo-ag phase.

Kostad worked on the construction documents and had no doubt the building was going to come together as it did.

She said she only assisted Craig Clark and Sean Sugden as they were the work horses behind the scenes.

“For this to be in my hometown was really something,” Kostad said. “I really enjoyed working with the school board. It was a great learning experience.”

Kostad, who attended the opening with her parents and sister, said the mechanical bid was high, but otherwise everything came together according to budget.

“Overall, it turned out,” she said. “Hopefully the kids will like it.” ... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!