It’s entirely appropriate that during this season of giving, a shining example of a community’s commitment to local students will emerge in grand fashion. The Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education program’s new Construction Trades building is on target for completion just after the holidays, and students and staff are excited about what happens next.
Construction began in late May on the 17,000 square-foot facility, which will house CTE’s Construction Trades students from Harrison, Farwell, Beaverton, Gladwin and Clare. That set of students will occupy part of the building; the remaining area will house an additional CTE program within a year or two. The new building joins other CGRESD/CTE facilities on the property known as The John C. Magnus Center on Old US-27 between Clare and Harrison.
“This facility was one of the promises we made when we asked the community to consider the CTE millage last year,” said Sheryl Presler, Superintendent of the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, which administers the CTE program. “It wasn’t exactly planned this way, but it’s fitting that the new building is going to arrive during the season when we count our blessings and express our thankfulness. Our staff and students are beyond grateful for this new space, which has been desperately needed for several years.”
Last week, with the shell enclosed, work began inside the building, including installing doors, drywall and the mechanical infrastructure. The initial coat of asphalt for driveways and parking lots is in place, and the remaining asphalt work will come when the weather improves next spring.
“Anytime you tackle a project of this size, you’re going to run into hiccups along the way,” Presler said. “But overall, the construction process has been very smooth. Right now, our Information Technology department is finalizing the technology installation arrangements, and our staff is busy ordering lab equipment and classroom furniture. And in cases where it’s possible, we’re using our existing desks, chairs and cabinetry.”
The new building is a sight for sore eyes for those associated with the Construction Trades program.
“That program has been housed in at least six different locations in the past decade, ranging from a high-school classroom to a vacant warehouse,” Presler said. “Using many of those locations meant limited access to proper lab equipment and tools, and the inconsistency from not having a permanent home dramatically affected students’ learning opportunities, financial and academic planning, transportation and equipment.”
A community open house will celebrate the new facility next spring.
Following its standard bid process for construction projects, CGRESD selected Midland’s Three Rivers Corp. as the general contractor; several local vendors are serving as either suppliers or subcontactors, and now that the work has moved inside, students in the program will begin to get more involved, gaining a solid learning opportunity in the process.
The Magnus Center property was donated by the Magnus family in 2013 with the desire that it be used by CTE and special education students. In addition to the construction students currently learning at the property, the Magnus Center also houses CTE’s Health Occupations program, as well as facilities for special education students to learn important life skills.
“It’s taken us a long time to get here, but for the students we serve, it’s worth waiting for,” Presler said. “It’s impossible to overstate our appreciation to the voters who made it possible by passing the millage, and to the Magnus family for providing so much support along the way.”