Hayden thinking bigger for vocation | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden thinking bigger for vocation

— Growing pains are coming with the success of Hayden School District’s vocational education program.

At the beginning of this school year, 111 students signed up for a shop class. Shop teacher Kevin Kleckler told the Hayden School Board on Wednesday night that there was room for only 48 students. There were 86 students who wanted to take the auto mechanics class that Kleckler teaches. He had room for 24.

“I’m excited about that,” Kleckler said. “It kind of tells you where we are.”

Kleckler, who has worked for years to build Hayden’s vocational education program, decided that more space was needed. He pursued a Carl Perkins Tech Prep grant, and the school district was awarded a $70,000 grant to be spent during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 fiscal years.

Kleckler’s proposal was to add a 50-by-50-foot metal building on to the existing shop, but the School Board decided it was worth exploring the possibility of a bigger building.

“I wonder if we should look a little farther ahead and take a few risks, School Board member Kurt Frentress said during a lengthy discussion about more space for the shop classes.

Kleckler initially approached the board Wednesday because he estimated a 50-by-50-foot building likely would cost more than the amount of grant money available.

Out of the $70,000 grant, only part can be used for construction of the building. He said $25,000 would be available this fiscal year, and $18,000 would be available next year. The rest of the grant money would go toward supporting classes. The grant money likely would cover a majority of the costs of the building’s foundation and excavation. Kleckler said he could use the space but that there is no money budgeted for equipment or utilities in the building.

Klecker was looking for advice from board members, and they suggested thinking bigger.

“There are a lot of question marks once the building is up and where it goes from there,” Hayden Superintendent Mike Luppes said. “I don’t know that we’re going to be rolling in the dough to say ‘Let’s put $40,000 into outfitting this building.'”

The board suggested that Kleckler and Luppes get estimates for what it would cost to build a larger building that would fit better with the existing shop and bus barn.

The space could help meet the demand from Hayden students who want to learn skills they can use after high school to get trade jobs.

“It’s all in line with the community’s priorities and the kinds of opportunities and things we want to make available to our kids,” School Board President Brian Hoza said.

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