SYRACUSE — Booths designed for hands-on learning fill the back end of the former Veterans of Foreign Wars building on Chicago Street in Syracuse. Within a couple of weeks students will fill those booths and learn valuable and in-demand skills.
Tuesday evening, Jan. 9, in Syracuse the Wawasee school board took a tour of the new Pathways welding facility in the old VFW building. The front end of the building is the classroom component where welding students will be instructed. It will also be used for the gone boarding classes and likely at times will eventually be used by Ivy Tech.
Next to the classroom is a private room to be used for welding certification testing. Jon Everingham, director of the Pathways program based at Wawasee High School, said paperwork is being done to make Wawasee an accredited welding testing facility, which would make it one of only 11 in the entire state. High school students will be tested and eventually adults could earn welding certification too.
Ivy Tech will be occupying some office space in the building, Everingham said, and wants to have a presence in Syracuse.
The welding area is in the back of the building and includes 12 welding booths where two students will be stationed per booth. Lincoln Electric supplied the welding equipment. Jesse Kimmel and Jeremiah Paseka are the welding instructors.
Paseka is a certified welding instructor and educator and came to the Wawasee cooperative from Warsaw, where he was a welding student and later an instructor.
Student Trevor Skeens spoke briefly and said he plans to attend the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Ohio after graduating from high school this year. He said welding was originally a “backup plan” for his career but became the primary plan.
Everingham spoke quite favorably of the welding building, saying it is a “first class facility” and noted Lincoln Electric and others have made similar remarks about the facility.
It will be a few more weeks before students are fully utilizing the facility. Some work stations and tables have been ordered and are expected to arrive in the next couple of weeks. There were other delays, too, in getting some of the electrical equipment such as a busbar due to hurricane ravaged areas getting priority on receiving electrical equipment.
An open house will be held later this year.
State law requires school boards to have a reorganization meeting within the first 15 days of January and that was the primary reason for Tuesday’s meeting. The regular monthly meeting of the school board will be Tuesday, Jan. 16.
Rebecca Linnemeier will be the board president, Rob Fisher will be vice president and Don Bokhart, secretary. Amanda Jackson will be the recording secretary for board meetings.
James Flecker is the board attorney. Board meetings will be held at 5:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month, with the exception of April (the third Tuesday), in the Warrior Room at the high school. Board members will receive $2,000 plus $110 per regular meeting and $60 per special session paid quarterly and capped at $6,000 total.
Mary Lou Dixon will be president and Mike Wilson secretary of the board of finance. All members of the school board are appointed as representatives to the career and technical advisors council.
Dr. Tom Edington, Jim Evans, Don Ritter, Joy Goshert and James Flecker are appointed as representatives to open sealed bids and receive quotes for school business. And Jim Evans and Sandy Hollar are the treasurer and deputy treasurer respectively.