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Students pitch in on build

Education News
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Following the announcement of a significant increase in enrollment, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education is forging ahead with its new central headquarters. Eight Camp Verde, Cottonwood and Sedona high school students enrolled in VACTE’s inaugural construction program are helping turn a 7,700-square-foot facility at 3405 State Route 89A in Cottonwood, the former site of Flip City Gym, into VACTE’s new headquarters.


The facility will accommodate two classrooms and an office. According to VACTE Superintendent Bob Weir, operations may be transferring into the renovated space by mid-October.

Weir said he hopes to rent out the existing headquarters at 830 S. Main St. in Cottonwood. During the VACTE Governing Board’s first meeting this month, construction teacher Travis Black outlined the process students are going through to help renovate the facility, including preparing the walls in two classrooms, as well as constructing modular tool storage racks. Black and Weir discussed the rapid progress the students are undergoing, less than halfway through the school year.

“The students have learned and demonstrated how to construct and install metal studs, hang and finish dry wall and run electrical lines for outlets and light fixtures,” Weir said. “The seniors in the program have completed IVES industry certification in scissor lift operation [with] the help from United Rental of Flagstaff for the scissor lift .... They are in the process of learning framing skills.”

On Sept. 20, the students put their new skills to good, if not somewhat grimy, use.

“The construction students were able to learn from the insulation techs from Banker Insulation today as they sprayed the insulation on the walls in our new VACTE classrooms and district office,” Weir said. “It was an opportunity for our students to learn from leaders in the industry and have them work hand in hand with the students for a successful project.”

The process of spraying insulation is not an easy or tidy affair. It requires physical stamina and attention to detail. Students went home with aching muscles, in sore need of a shower.

According to Weir, much of the construction program’s forward momentum is due to donations of resources and expertise from local construction and construction-related companies, including the aforementioned Banker Insulation, Northern Arizona Woodworking, Lawler Construction, Salt River Materials Group, Yavapai Title, Country Bank and local education advocate Ruth Wicks.

Regardless of all the help, Weir said VACTE could always use more.

“We are looking for guest speakers, hands-on opportunities for our students to learn and perform the needed construction skills,” he said. “We are in the need of equipment to enhance
the program as it grows. We have several sponsorship opportunities available for the construction program and all of our other central campus CTE programs at VACTE.”

To offer assistance, sponsor the construction program or make a tax credit donation to VACTE, call 634-7131 or email bweir@vacte.com.

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