MEXICO – The Region 9 board approved hiring longtime Rumford garage owner Dan Richard as the vocational school’s first automotive instructor Tuesday.

When classes begin Aug. 27, Richard, owner of Dan’s Automotive, will have full classes of 18 students each, and a waiting list of others who want to enroll.

Brenda Gammon, director of the Region 9 School of Applied Technology, said Richard has worked with Region 9 students at his garage, and will continue to do so as he maintains his business.

Automotive technology is one of two new vocational programs offered for the first time this year. The instructor for the second program, early childhood development is Terri Downs. She was hired last month.

The Automotive Advisory Committee, which is comprised of businesses related to the vocation, meets at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the school. Each vocational program has a similar committee to work with the individual programs.

Nearly 200 students are expected to begin vocational classes next week, although the entire $4.9 million construction and renovation project isn’t quite complete.

Gammon said classrooms will be ready for students while construction work continues on the shops.

The board met Tuesday night for the first time in the school’s new cafeteria, which is more than double the size of the previous cafeteria.

Board Chairman Norman Clanton, who represents partner district SAD 44, said the Facilities Committee has been meeting twice a month since the project began a year ago. The next meeting is set for 8 a.m. Aug. 28.

Clanton said with the beginning of the school year, every student and staff member must be informed about the need to conserve fuel, through such actions as always closing exterior doors.

The board decided not to lock in at any specific price for fuel oil because of the volatility of costs per gallon right now.

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