Upper Dauphin Area looks to expand welding program
LOYALTON — To make its students more career- and collegeready, the Upper Dauphin Area School District may expand its welding program.
Superintendent Evan P. Williams and High School Principal Jared Shade shared details with the school board Tuesday, exploring the option. The administrators presented an overview, focusing on logistics, financing, business partnerships and the need to elevate its current welding course offerings.
“I think it’s a win- win, but what’s it going to cost us?” board President David Barder asked.
Directors Brian Henninger, the Rev. Nathan Minnich and Kirk Wenrich were absent. The board made no decision on formally establishing the program but encouraged the administration to get additional information.
The need for welders is expected to grow by 26 percent by 2020, according to research Shade presented. Shade visited Big B Manufacturing in Pitman and Hearth & Home Technologies in Halifax to gain insight from industries seeking certified welders. Big B, he said, would be willing to donate welding equipment for a $ 1 lease arrangement and raw materials to the UDA program, in exchange for an opportunity to interview UDA seniors as potential job applicants.
Hearth & Home is willing to donate materials and will send some of its certified welders, with educational clearances, to the school to help with instruction.
Currently, UDA’s Roy Maurer teaches a basic and advanced welding course as part of the agriculture curriculum and there is a certified welder who also assists.
There are 34 students in the basic, and 20 in the advanced welding course this year. Maurer plans to retire in 2019- 20, Shade said. However, Maurer has agreed to help pilot the new program with the help of the additional certified welders from Hearth & Home, if the board gives the nod.
Under the expanded welding program, basic welding would be taught in periods 1 through 3; then Welding II and III could be offered in periods 6 through 8, providing instruction in blueprint, MIG, TIG, plasma, computer numerically controlled equipment and pipe molding. Students who take the complete welding course of study would be able to become cer- tified, after taking the appropriate battery of tests.
Williams said some funding sources could come from a Perkins grant, $ 4,000 to $ 5,000; consortium billing for neighboring districts to send their welding students to UDA, generating approximately $ 4,700; and a potential vocational subsidy of $ 9,000.
The costs for welding booths is about $ 21,000 each, and the cost for a teacher and benefits could cost about $ 75,000, Williams said.
In other business, the board heard an audit presentation on Phase III of an energy savings project for the district. Alyssa Wingenfield, Doug Boswell and Brian Moore, with McClure Co., of Harrisburg, provided details for an estimated $ 5.1 million project.
Among t he proposed options are heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and boiler upgrades to the elementary/ middle school complex in Loyalton, costing $ 4.9 million; middle school envelope upgrades, like foam sealing and weather stripping at $ 55,665; high school cafeteria glass upgrades at $ 70,324; and modification to the middle school cafeteria for large, group instruction at $ 59,254.
The total 20- year project savings are expected to be $ 6.1 million. The board took t he i nfor mation under advisement. If approved, the tentative construction time frame could be May to September 2019.
Contact the writer: vterwilliger@ republicanherald. com; 570- 628- 6007