A planned addition to the James Valley Career and Technology Center in Jamestown is the right move for the community, according to Darby Heinert, assistant director of the center.
"If our goal is to put people in the workforce," he said, "this is definitely a need."
Preliminary plans call for a 7,000-square-foot addition on the south side of the existing Career and Technology Center. Plans also call for the renovation of some existing space within the center and the establishment of an accessible greenhouse for the agricultural trades program.
Project costs are estimated between $1.3 million and $1.4 million. Anticipated funding sources include a 50% grant from the state of North Dakota matched by the Jamestown Public School District and other local sources. The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. recommended approval of a contribution of $131,000 at its meeting Monday. That contribution must now be approved by the Jamestown City Council and Stutsman County Commission.
Heinert said the biggest part of the planned addition would be used by the building trades program at the center.
"The courses are structured so the kids have a couple of hours per day working at the building skills," he said. "The safety advantages to doing that indoors are huge."
In recent years, the building trades program has built a lake cabin-type structure that is sold at the end of the project. The addition to the Career and Technology Center would allow that work to occur indoors and still have space for smaller projects if necessary, Heinert said.
Another part of the project would build a large-sized commercial kitchen for students where students can learn food preparation skills. The commercial kitchen would also be available for rent to members of the community who that type of facility.
"There is definitely a shortage of food staff in Jamestown now," Heinert said. "... we are trying to create people to work in that field."
The new greenhouse would replace the current greenhouse which has a gravel floor and is not accessible by all students. This improvement will aid the agriculture program offered by the center.
Another part of the expansion could have a positive impact on the public safety of northeast Jamestown, said Adam Gehlhar, director of the Career and Technology Center.
The center is hoping to partner with an area ambulance provider to station an ambulance and emergency medical staff at the Career and Technology Center. The staff member would teach emergency medical technology classes and respond to ambulance calls in northern Jamestown.
"Maybe we don't have enough students to have a full-time teacher," Gehlhar said, "but maybe we have enough to fill a couple of classes. We have done a lot of creative work and developed a lot of partners over time."
The expansion is also a response to student needs which are growing, Heinert said.
The Career and Technology Center has an enrollment of about 542 students. It includes students from Jamestown, Pingree-Buchanan and Montpelier.
The addition is intended to "expand the opportunity to increase the workforce" in the Jamestown community, Gehlhar said.
Preliminary plans call for groundbreaking on the project in the summer of 2022. Students of the building trade classes would do some of the interior work during the 2022-2023 school year.