XENIA — For many who worked on the new Greene County Career Center, building the new school was a labor of love. Many career center alumni contributed their talents to the project, building a 264,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility to train the students who will follow in their footsteps.
The building is as ambitious in scope as it is in size. The central hallway that connects the ground floor wings runs nearly a hundred yards from end to end, providing a single long sight line throughout the entire building. Each space is packed with the modern technology necessary to ensure its students are prepared for the challenges they’ll have to meet on the job.
According to Greene County Career Center (GCCC) Superintendent Dave Deskins, career center teachers and administrators are constantly interfacing with industry leaders and business owners in the Miami Valley. Many of those businesses hire GCCC students right out of the classroom.
In the welding lab, each welding station has a ventilation system that rides the cutting edge. Rather than sucking noxious fumes up and away from the venting space, air is pulled down into the machine, cleaned, and then returned to circulation in the lab. The result is far more efficient, and the system has potential environmental benefits to it as well.
In the power equipment lab, the pride of the new facility is the CAT simulator. The monstrous piece of equipment resembles an excavator seat with a three-monitor screen perched in front of it. No one’s going to be watching football games on this screen, however, as the engine inside the seat mimics the movement and nuances of operating a piece of heavy equipment. The simulator is so sophisticated, students have the potential to earn certifications in operating certain equipment without the myriad safety hazards that go along with that process.
On the medical side, the career center’s veterinary sciences lab has equipment used in professional vet operations, and can handle surgeries for dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, horses and cattle right from the school building. Previously, such operations were conducted at the Agricultural Research Center on Brush Row Road. GCCC is one of only a few high schools in Ohio to have licensed veterinary teaching.
Students wishing to go into health sciences also get practice working in a mock hospital setting. They learn how to draw “blood” through simulated “arms,” skills to take care of a long-term care patient, and other proficiencies in a lab designed to be as close as possible to the real thing.
In fact, the entire building is designed to be “as close as possible to the real thing.” The industrial sciences side of the building intentionally mimics what working in an industrial setting is like, in both structure and layout. Though this may not have been an intentional part of the building’s design, the layout of the various labs actually provides a potential advantage in the fight against COVID-19.
“Kids can be quarantined by lab,” Deskins said. “If there’s a potential infection, we can shut down one lab and keep the others open.”
Being a very hands-on learning environment, reopening is incredibly important for schools like GCCC.
“I can’t teach welding from a couch,” Deskins said.
Not to mention, school administrators are understandably excited about showing off all this new tech to their students. For this reason and others, the school has doubled down on ensuring staff and students do their best to stop the spread of the virus.
GCCC is scheduled to go back to school on Tuesday, Aug. 25.
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