New equipment at the James Valley Career and Technology Center and Jamestown High School will improve safety in certain classes at the schools as well as help students with their education, said Darby Heinert, JVCTC assistant director and JHS assistant principal.

Heinert said two $2,500 Russell & Helen Sand Public High School Education Fund Grants distributed through a partnership with the Fargo Moorhead Area Foundation and North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education provided funds to purchase a refrigerator/freezer and stove/oven for Family and Consumer Science classes at JHS, as well as a sliding compound miter saw and permanent stand for building trades at JVCT.

“In terms of independent family living, nutrition foods, when we’re running those classes it requires a lot of fridge space, a lot of freezer space and the fridge that we had just was not adequate enough in terms of keeping up with that need,” Heinert said. So the district was able to purchase a residential fridge with the grant funds to help provide more space for food needed for Claudia Wolf’s classes, he said.

The new fridge will help serve the Independent Living, Food Prep 1, Food Prep 2 and Nutrition and Fitness classes.

“In the past, we were storing food in the staff lounge or in the office refrigerator,” Heinert said. “So students would have to walk all the way down to the first floor just to access and have access to the food they needed to have for class.”

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The students would go to second floor to report for attendance, get a slip, then go down to first floor to get the food they need, then do the same process when it was time to put the food away, he said.

The grant also was used to purchase an ADA compliant oven/stove combination. Heinert said in order to be compliant with state standards, the school needed an oven/stove combination that had the controls on the front of the stove rather than in the back.

“So if you have a student who needs access to a wheelchair it was important to have that cooking option there for them so they can participate just like any other student,” he said. “So it was all about meeting their needs of the special population groups.”

Wolf said having the new appliances in the classroom makes a difference.

“Being able to see the temperature of your fridge (on the outside) and those kinds of things ... because we talk about food safety and what your fridge temp should be at,” it’s nice the students can see that, Wolf said.

“Other than just the added convenience of having a larger fridge and another stove and a cooking unit, it really gives kids an idea of what’s out there,” Wolf said. “The new technology and they’re able to not only focus on home kitchen food prep but maybe spur them on to, you know, maybe going into the culinary arts.”

Equipment at JVCTC

The second $2,500 grant was for the building trades classes, which are taught by Bob Thoreson.

“For that grant, we purchased a sliding compound miter saw with direct ventilation,” Heinert said. “In addition to that saw, we paired it up with a permanent miter saw stand, which, by the way, we are building. Our students are participating in that. So the students are taking ownership in this project. ... which they take a lot of pride in.”

Thoreson teaches Construction Tech to students in grades 11-12 and Intro to Construction to grades 9-10.

“It’s making our job more efficient in the shop,” Thoreson said of the equipment and stand project.

A permanent miter saw stand will provide more safety, Heinert said.

“... we own portable miter saw stands, but every time our students would set those up in our shop you had extension cords going all over the place and so it was a safety issue,” he said. “ ... So that liability was something we were really looking at eliminating. That was part of the motivation for the grant.”

The other reason to seek the grant was to reduce allergies students may experience from the dust when using the miter saw in the shop area, he said.

“So a standard feature of miter saws today - they’ll have this dust bag on the back. But every time you run that saw there’s still going to be dust particles in the air,” Heinert said. “... The Shop-Vac unit will collect the dust.” Every time the saw turns on so does the Shop-Vac, which will be located under the saw, where it will collect the material and place it in a pail.

The students are building a 16-foot permanent platform for the saw with materials also paid for from the grant, which will be located against a wall, Heinert said.

Previously, a few portable stands were used, which would have to be moved around for the individual classes. With a permanent stand, safety will be increased as well as efficiency, Heinert said. The permanent stand will accommodate larger, longer cuts with more accuracy and safety. There will be a self-measuring guide so all students will have to do is put a board to the edge where the saw will be and there will be a measuring system attached to the end of the board that will automatically tell them the length of the board. So when they look at the measurement of the cut they need they can align the board exactly on the measure rest where it needs to be, Heinert said.

The other benefit of the grant for the building trades is that it freed up federal Perkins 5 funds that the JVCTC receives to purchase more battery tools, he said.

“We’re doing our very best to become cord free,” he said with tools, to increase safety by reducing cords in the work area.