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MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — Some students at Mitchell Technical Institute will return from summer vacation to find a new classroom and workspace, courtesy of the school's instructors.
For about three weeks, professors from the architectural design and building construction and agriculture technology programs have been renovating the newest piece of the MTI campus: a building dedicated to the ButlerEdge Ag Technician program, The Daily Republic (http://bit.ly/2bnTMaO ) reported.
"We were kind of cramped in the space we were in before, and now we're expanding," said ButlerEdge Instructor Greg Kock, who has been on-site nearly full-time throughout the project.
The ButlerEdge program is made up of nine semesters, during which students alternate between on-campus classes and internships with a Butler Machinery dealer. On campus, students learn agriculture mechanics using AGCO equipment, which requires a lot of space.
"I think it's a great opportunity for us. Looking forward to seeing how the students react to this bigger facility, bigger area," Kock said. "I know they were kind of cramped before."
For two years, the program was housed inside the Nordby Trade Center. That building also houses the Farm Power Technology program, which teaches students how to work with automated machinery equipment.
"One thing about this type of work is once you start tearing something apart and putting something together, at the end of the day, it's not something you can just pack up and put away so another class can use the space," said Julie Brookbank, director of communications for MTI.
The new classroom and workspace is located next to the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., just west of South Ohlmann Street, which is almost 3 miles northwest of the MTI campus. Brookbank said the location wasn't ideal, but the structure provided the necessary space.
"In a perfect world, it would have been right adjacent to our campus. It truly came down to something we could find that was of appropriate size that had the kinds of bays and garage doors to accommodate the equipment," Brookbank said. "The facility is something that will be very useful for the program."
On July 19, MTI purchased the building, which has two bay doors on each side of a warehouse with an office-turned-classroom attached to the northeast corner.
Aside from the classroom space, which was completely remodeled, much of the required work is cosmetic, including wall cleaning and ceiling tile installation.
Jobs like plumbing and electrical work were contracted out, but the majority of the project was completed internally by instructors from MTI, like Ag Technology Instructor Rick Kriese and architectural design and building construction instructors Nick Baus and Jim Mahoney.
"It's coming along really good," Mahoney said. "Kind of a short timeline, but it should be ready to go, I would think (before school starts)."
Mahoney said he wouldn't have been able to complete the project during the school year, but he was happy to help out during the summer and leave a physical mark on MTI.
"That's kind of probably one of the main reasons I got into building in the first place. You love to see stuff when it's finished and say that you were a part of that," Mahoney said.
Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy instructors Eric Schramm and Jed Schoenfelder and MTI maintenance employees Jeff Bruntz and Jimmie Nicolaus also assisted on the project.
Brookbank said hiring instructors didn't necessarily save the school money, but the instructors are expected to complete the project fairly quickly, and she likes the idea of helping them use their skills outside the classroom.
"Our building instructors have a lot of experience, but they don't often get to put that into practice," Brookbank said. "Then to also be able to partner with the MCTEA instructors, it was just kind of a fun project to put them all together and get their creativity going. ... I think it's been a good project all the way around."
Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com
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