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Loggers, ranchers aid school shop

Published on July 12, 2012 3:01AM

Last changed on August 9, 2012 7:49AM

Submitted photo
This picture shows the Council, Idaho, High School shop after it was repaired. The community worked together to raise $50,000 and donate the labor and resources to rebuild it and restore the school's ag systems management program.

Submitted photo This picture shows the Council, Idaho, High School shop after it was repaired. The community worked together to raise $50,000 and donate the labor and resources to rebuild it and restore the school's ag systems management program.

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Residents volunteer, donate money to rebuild shop


By SEAN ELLIS


Capital Press


COUNCIL, Idaho -- Loggers, ranchers, farmers and others in this small community have teamed up to raise enough money to repair Council High School's formerly condemned shop and restore the school's shop program.


The goal was accomplished after local residents raised $50,000 and donated the labor, tools and resources necessary to repair the shop.


After shooting down a $75,000 two-year levy last year, residents this year passed a similar levy that will help fund a teacher who will instruct an agriculture systems management class at the shop.


"The whole community just stepped up and we (raised) the money to fix the building," said local logger Mark Mahon, who spearheaded the effort.


Mahon gathered local loggers, ranchers, farmers, tradesmen, teachers and other residents together earlier this year to address the issue.


"We realized the state was not going to fund our shop, so we just took it upon ourselves to fix the problem," he said. "I got fed up and said, we've got to fix this situation. We've got to restore the shop program."


In this small city of 840 people in central Idaho, where logging and ranching are the main industries and the median income is well below the national average, raising the money necessary for the project was no small matter, Mahon said.


Faced with less state funding and a reduced tax base, the school cut its shop program in 2008.


Adverse weather caused insulation to fall through the roof and take out lights and wiring. Because the 7,000-square-foot shop building wasn't being maintained, it fell into disrepair and was condemned by the state.


Mahon gathered local loggers, ranchers, farmers, tradesmen, teachers and other residents together earlier this year to address the issue.


"We realized the state was not going to fund our shop, so we just took it upon ourselves to fix the problem," he said. "I got fed up and said, we've got to fix this situation. We've got to restore the shop program."


Local loggers in March logged 19 truckloads of donated timber, equal to 102,000 board-feet, from private property owned by Harold Powers in Emmett. That raised $33,000 for the project.


Several local ranchers donated $1,000 to the project.


"The kids need that exposure to welding, wiring and other skills offered in a shop program," said local rancher Dawn Holmes, who donated $1,000.


Holmes, an FFA adviser and ag teacher at the school, said six kids from the family ranch have graduated from Council High School.


"When you break it down that way, a thousand dollars isn't so much," she said.


Most of the repairs have already been done, a teacher has been hired and shop classes will begin in August. Holmes said the class will teach a wide variety of skills, including wood construction, welding, wiring, electrical work, metal and tool identification, and how to calibrate sprayers.


She said the entire community has supported the project, including a third-grader who raised a 4-H pig named Porkshop that will be auctioned off at the county fair to help pay for the ongoing project.


All of the electrical, plumbing and carpentry work was donated by local tradesmen.




Online


www.facebook.com/CHSShopProgram



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