In our 34 years of construction experience, we see a potential crisis in the steady decrease of laborers and craftsmen. Without skilled workers, construction companies are not meeting their deadlines and the commercial growth of our cities is slowing down.
While the decrease can’t be blamed on one thing in particular, early education about the industry seems limited at the high school level. Papillion La Vista South High School is bridging that gap and giving us hope about the future of the construction industry. They selected MCL Construction to expand their Trade and STEM programs.
“It is cool to see these programs back in the schools and to this magnitude,” said Project Engineer Jared Kroger. “We never had woodshop and welding classes with this many resources when I was a student.”
For Papillion La Vista South, it’s about showing their students options for their future and encouraging a successful path, no matter which one they choose.
“We are trying to grab the attention of our students early and give them a sense of where they want to go when they leave here. Do I want to go to a four-year school, a two-year school, or a trade school,” said Assistant Principal Jeremy VanAckeren.
In part of a much larger renovation and addition project, MCL renovated and built new engineering, robotics, woodshop, and welding classrooms at the high school. Each offers students a specialized space for a concentrated focus on skills. The high school is already seeing an increase in enrollment in these classes.
“Welding numbers for next year are setting records for the school. The attraction of the new space and our kids being able to see it is pulling them in,” said VanAckeren.
That new space is a 12-station, open classroom with an exposed ceiling. Students can see the mechanical and electrical systems powering their tools and have a unique perspective into how a building operates behind the walls. MCL Construction transformed it from an IT classroom into a hands-on learning space.
“We never had the size to take on everything that we want to offer our kids, welding being the major one. We now have a space dedicated to welding and improved spaces for each area of study.”
In addition to the new welding space, MCL renovated the high school’s current woodshop classroom and turned it into two specialty classrooms: engineering and robotics. We built a brand-new woodshop classroom that gives students more room to work and provides them with the opportunity to use equipment that was limited in their previous space.
On every project MCL works on, we put ourselves into our client’s shoes and ask ourselves, “how will they use this space” and “how can we build the space to be as efficient as possible.” In this case, our team felt at home. They knew exactly how to build a space where students would develop skills, find a passion for the trades, and maybe even choose a future in trades.
“Different from your standard classroom, these spaces can be unique to the school and the teachers. As builders, we have an idea of how the equipment works, what you need for space, and the different tools needed,” said MCL Project Engineer Jared Koger. “We can offer insight and make it more functional for the students based on experience.”
In addition to the new shop classrooms, MCL Construction built a brand new athletics addition, classroom addition, and added interior upgrades throughout the school.
About MCL Construction
For many businesses, navigating the entire construction process and knowing who to trust can be overwhelming. At MCL Construction, our people simplify the process by listening, planning, executing, and continuing the relationship to build their vision.
MCL Construction uses many voices from within and outside the company to give informed advice, opinions, and techniques about construction methods, innovation, and technology.