How many schools being built today include a "cattle crossing" in their site plans?
There's one included in the latest design for Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School, which will at long last break ground next month.
Wednesday, May 9, is the date that has been set for this momentous event. Dignitaries, including Gov. Deval Patrick, are expected to gather on a site just off Route 62 in the Hathorne section of Danvers at 1:30 p.m. for the ceremony marking the culmination of an effort several decades in the making. Shovels, finally, will be put in the ground.
Business leaders were briefed on the updated plans last week.
"We're on budget, and we will stay on budget," North Shore Tech Superintendent Daniel O'Connell assured the audience.
Projected cost of the new facility, which will combine the resources of O'Connell's school in Middleton, Essex Aggie in Danvers and Peabody High's vocational programs, is $133.7 million. But O'Connell and Danvers Town Manager Wayne Marquis, who serves on the new school's building committee, said certain things, including equipment, have had to be cut in order to keep the project within budget.
They're appealing to local businesses that will benefit from the training the school will provide to help make up the shortfall. There are naming opportunities for those who help provide the specialized equipment the school will need for some of its career programs.
O'Connell emphasized that the emphasis will still be on providing students who will come from throughout Essex County with a well-rounded education. Despite a definite emphasis on career training, 60 percent of North Shore Tech students currently go on to college.
At the new school, the more than 1,400 students in grades nine through 12 will be separated into four "career academies" — animal and plant sciences, construction technology, life and natural sciences, and technology and services. The purpose, O'Connell said, is to maintain a small-school feel within the larger campus and, as students decide on a career choice, allow them to learn the skills required to secure a job, whether it's in the culinary arts, one of the trades or another field.
Particularly gratifying, in our view, is the fact that there will continue to be a strong emphasis on animal husbandry and agriculture, programs for which the Aggie is well-known. The campus includes 42 acres designated as farm, pasture and paddock land, but due to changing needs, programs in this area have been expanded to include veterinary science, floriculture and park management.
Having a comprehensive, regional vocational school offering cutting-edge career training has long been a dream of many on the North Shore. With the new facility scheduled to open in September 2014, that dream is about to be realized.