FARMINGTON — The Rangeley Lakes School Board toured the new newly renovated Mt. Blue High School and Foster Career and Technical Education Center this week.

Boarding a school bus at 5:30 p.m., members were met at the Mt. Blue entrance by Rangeley schools Superintendent Sue Pratt and Principal Charles Brown, and Foster center Director Glenn Kapiloff, the tour guide.

After the tour, the Rangeley board held a brief meeting at the Mt. Blue school library.

Kapiloff said tech programs are tied to national certification in various professions and are scheduled in four-hour sessions for 350 hours a year. The exceptions are the automotive program, which takes 500 hours in two years, and business education classes, which are scheduled in 90-minute blocks.

Among the vocational facilities inspected by the board were large areas for construction, metal fabrication, forestry and firefighter training. The expansive incubator space is for the development of new businesses, and the three-room digital media area has all the equipment for making videos, movies and audio recordings.

The culinary arts program has a professional kitchen and will soon begin serving at its cafe, which will be open to the public.

A favorite with the board was the robotics laboratory, with its 3-D printer and drone helicopter with video camera that can be controlled by the viewer’s receptor goggles.

The commercial arts and photography students start the program in an old-fashioned darkroom, where the terminology is the same as that used by the up-to-date digital technology.

The Foster technology programs are open to Rangeley high school juniors and seniors. Six students are enrolled, but board members projected a jump in students utilizing the program if Rangeley parents could be brought to tour the facilities.

“Safety is the biggest thing we teach in any of our programs,” Kapiloff said as he demonstrated some power tools. “But we have almost no discipline problems, because the kids want to be here.”

The tour ended in the 500-seat Bjorn Auditorium, where technical provisions for concerts, plays and other live performances far exceed the scope provided by the old facility, and the smaller forum, used for meetings and student presentations. Board members thanked Kapiloff and expressed admiration for the new building and its resources.

At the meeting which followed, Pratt said report cards were mailed Friday, and that, after some technical glitches, a longer-than-usual honor roll would be released at the end of the week.

Brown reported that students in grades three to five held a medieval fair on Halloween, and that last Friday K-1 pupils held a veterans appreciation program that was so successful it will be expanded next year.

Acting on Pratt’s recommendations, the board approved nominations of David Jensen as part-time education technician I for Title I, Phillip Olivieri as middle school boys’ basketball coach, David Jensen as middle school girls’ basketball coach and Tony Clark as high school boys’ basketball assistant coach.

The board also approved a request from music teacher Erin Smith for an overnight field trip to White River Junction, Vt., for the New England Music Solo and Ensemble Auditions on Dec. 6-7.


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