Career academies addition

THIS IS AN ARCHITECTURAL rendering of the Norfolk High School's career academy addition. The Norfolk board of education approved a bid for the addition, which will accommodate automotive and welding academies, at a special meeting Friday.

The Norfolk Public Schools board of education approved a bid for an addition to the high school.

The addition, which will be located on the back of the building, will be used for career academies — the first installment of which began this school year.

Members voted unanimously during a special board meeting Friday to accept J.H. Hespe Construction's bid of $892,500. The price is under what the district projected, said Bill Robinson, associate superintendent of business, maintenance and facilities.

If the weather holds, Robinson said construction could begin as early as next week.

The addition is meant to accommodate needs in the automotive and welding academies. Both will be introduced in the 2017-18 school year along with those focusing on early childhood education, culinary, information technology, hospitality and tourism, business management and administration, finance, and marketing.

The academies rolled out already this year were agriculture — both plant- and animal-focused — construction, drafting and health science.

An architectural rendering shows that the space will accommodate up to four cars for the automotive academy. It also includes two bays equipped with lifts.

A welding area will be included, equipped with 12 booths, all of which will accommodate electric and gas — argon, acetylene and oxygen — welding.

The addition will contain the large door connected to the welding area, which will allow for tractors and trucks to be brought in and worked on by welding students.

The Norfolk Public Schools Foundation has been fundraising to make this addition and other aspects of the career academies possible. The foundation announced in late October that it was nearing its fundraising goal of $2.2 million. It had raised more than $1.6 million at that time.

The next step, Robinson said, was for him to meet with contractors and teachers to form a timeline for construction. The goal is to have the addition finished by mid-July so that it can be utilized by the start of school.

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