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

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