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It’s not your typical High School.

By Zachary Matson,
Gazette Reporter

The Crisscrossed metal catwalk above the black box theater at Mohonasen’s new Center for Advanced Technology feels soft underfoot. It has to be so that the catwalks cast no shadows when the LED lights shine through them onto the stage. It’s one small detail among many that will make the school’s new technology center a welcome home to students looking for a foothold in technology- driven fields in the coming years. Classes begin there in September.
The construction team is the the “punchlist” phase of construction, putting the finishing touches on rooms throughout the building and gradually bringing in hundreds of pieces of technology and equipment. Makensie Bullinger, Mohonasen administrator of science and technology, said science and technology teachers have been given tours of the building prior to completion. As the engineers and architects described all that went into getting the job done, lesson plans popped into the teacher’s minds. “The earth science teachers were eating it up,” Bullinger said. “They immediately started to say how can we incorporate all of that into lesson plans.”

Students will be able to spend their entire days at the new building, equipped with hundreds of lockers and a full-service kitchen. Students will have everything they would need in any school, but that’s where the similarities end. “ It’s not your traditional kind of high school”, Bullinger said. The school will be a high-tech center, housing Mohonasen’s and Capital Region BOCES programs in computer science, theater, nano technology, health industries, manufacturing welding and more! The Classrooms are divided into shared suites, large industrial spaces, and classrooms designed to be “Googleish”, as Bullinger calls it. The buildings “traditional classes’ will have new presentation monitors , desks that can be easily rearranged and walls covered in whiteboard paint, so lessons and presentations can cover the entire space.

But the show stealers will be the black box theater, nano technology lab, and welding manufacturing and workshop studios. The nanotech lab will have high-tech microscopes attached to observation monitors and long rows of steel workspaces. Some of the classes are also set up as “clean rooms”, so students can practice the proper ways of preparing to enter and exit rooms that must remains free of contaminants.

The theater shares a suite with a media arts computer lab, where students will be able to produce promotional materials for any shows. Students and teachers can film a dance performance or part of a play and then review it on computers in the attached room, breaking down the choreography, looking for productions flaws. A physical therapy lab sports a half-dozen diagnostic tables and will have treadmills, stationary bikes and a machine that monitors respiratory and heart rates as people work out. Large industrial spaces will house the welding, wood working and machining classes.

“It gives us a state-of-the-art building”’ said Valerie Kelsey, interim director of career and technical education programs for the BOCES. “It give is the opportunity to have “state-the-of-art technology to train our students with.”

The BOCES program will also have an alternative energy class and use the new welding space, which has individual welding booths for two dozen students. They will also run two sessions of computer gaming and an electrical engineering course.
Kelsey said BOCES officials will also look to offer adult classes in the evening sometime during the Fall. The goal of BOCES is to help train students to fill the “middle skills gap”- a lack of workers trained in skilled trades.