Charlotte Public Schools opens new Agricultural Learning Center
Charlotte Public Schools is opening a new Agricultural Learning Center with classrooms providing hands-on teaching about farming and horticultural industries.
Michigan’s food and agriculture sector accounts for 17% of the state’s employment according to data from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
Since the early 1970s, Charlotte Public Schools has been introducing students to the field.
Nick Thompson, a teacher in the district’s agricultural learning programs says the new center will offer students the opportunity to learn from and interact with goats, sheep, and pigs.
“Our overarching goal is to try to expose students at the high school level, to these career opportunities, so that they can you know, be thinking about that as an option when they graduate high school as a career," he said.
According to Thompson, the old facility was in great disrepair. The new facility is made possible through a $36 million dollar bond approved by voters in November of 2020.
"So this building is not a new idea, but it's definitely going to be cutting edge and it's going to be something that hopefully generations to come can utilize," he added. "And help the community try to get young people in the agricultural industry."
The center will also expose students to career opportunities in veterinary medicine, agricultural mechanics and horticulture.
"They will learn how to clean, bandage and feed the animals, or things of that nature. Also learn basic small engine maintenance and repair and a little bit of welding," Thompson said. "So that class is a little bit geared more towards the trade side of agriculture. The other classes are geared more towards the production, animal production side of things."
Thompson says the facility will help more students to earn a degree from Michigan’s Future Farmers of America Association. It’s the highest achievement the association can bestow on a member.