Grant will allow programming to expand at Hayden vocational center | CraigDailyPress.com

Grant will allow programming to expand at Hayden vocational center

Matt Stensland

Hayden High School senior Tanner Guire uses a grinder during a welding class Tuesday in the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center.

— Hayden High School vocational education teacher Kevin Kleckler is finding ways to keep up with the demand for his classes.

The Hayden School District recently was awarded a $32,000 grant that will allow the welding program to grow at its Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center.

"We're able to expand to six more welding stations," Kleckler said.

The grant was awarded by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs' Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund.

The money is going to be used specifically to fund improvements to the ventilation system in the building. Additional exhaust pipes and hoses are needed to remove harmful smoke produced while welding.

On Tuesday, there were boxes of parts waiting to be assembled and added onto the building's existing ventilation system. Kleckler said a crew is going to spend two days installing the system beginning Sept. 23.

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In addition to offering classes for Routt and Moffat County students, Kleckler teaches night classes for adults. With the existing ventilation system, he capped those classes at 12 people.

"Now, I feel like I can take between 16 to 20 adults comfortably," Kleckler said.

The welding classes enable students to earn certifications that can help them land jobs straight out of school.

"I just think it's a really good to know for after high school," senior Tanner Guire said.

Mechanics, auto body, drafting, welding, engineering and cabinetry are among the classes taught at the school. Kleckler raised $1.6 million to expand the facility, which was dedicated in 2008.

The ventilation system also will be expanded into an area of the new building where students learn how to restore cars during auto body class. When the building was constructed, Kleckler ran out of money to connect a $10,000 vacuum to the grinders and sanders used during the class.

"We want students to know what should be expected for their safety in the industry," Kleckler said.

The Hayden School District has relied heavily on grants to help expand its vocational programming. Last school year, a $25,000 grant from Shell Oil allowed Routt County students to help restore a 1953 Chevrolet farm truck. Proceeds from the sale of the truck were going to go back to the program.

Kleckler said he works with an annual budget of about $200,000. The school district contributes $5,000, and the rest comes from money generated by the program, Kleckler said. Among its income generators are a car repair service and sales of trailers, bumpers, planters and sculptures, such as the giant steel moose currently sitting behind the building.

Trudy Vader, who started her new job as the Hayden School District superintendent in July, said she was impressed with the program that Kleckler has built.

"It benefits the community and the economy," Vader said. "It's something that doesn't happen everywhere, and it's really top notch."

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland