Engineering Renovations Inspire Creativity in Students

A new school year brings new opportunities for Arrowhead High School students. In May of 2015, the old engineering wing on the north side of Arrowhead’s South Campus was on its way to becoming the new Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing Center. Now, nearly five months later, the project’s expected completion date is the week of the 13th of September.

According to Arrowhead principal, Gregg Wieczorek, the school was anticipating the cost of the renovations to be $2 million dollars.

“They had budgeted 2 million dollars for various aspects of it, and then depending on contingencies––when you do a project of this nature you put a certain amount of money, a percentage of the money, into what’s called a contingency,” Wieczorek says.

Not all of the payment comes directly from Arrowhead’s budget.

“We’re asking for donations from the people in the manufacturing businesses if they would help out, and they have donated somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 dollars, and we are looking for another $300,000, I believe. We want to try to get a half a million dollars worth of equipment donated,” says Wieczorek.

In contrast to the 2014-2015 school year, classes in the Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing sector this year will be combined. Students will be able to use all of the materials they need for their projects.

“One large facility, one large space,” says Tom Whelan, Technology and Engineering teacher and Department Coordinator.

Two hundred and sixty students enrolled in the Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing program have the opportunity to work with the new equipment and experience the advanced technology the center has to offer.

According to Whelan, “They’re [engineering students] not going to get it anywhere, in any other school around this state, I know that for a fact, if not the country for that matter.”

These changes in the program have provided a different atmosphere.

Mary Dohogne, an Arrowhead sophomore, says “[The old engineering center] really wasn’t built for collaboration, it was very much built for individual work. Compared to the classrooms now, which are very open, very modern, very streamlined, and I do think it will help get creative juices flowing when we are supposed to be trying to solve problems. Overall, it works better for what engineering is all about, which is collaboration.”

Freshman Greta Ulatowski says, “I think I am going learn a lot of helpful skills, that won’t just be for engineering, that can help me with a lot of things that I like to do. I think it is going to be very helpful.”

The improvements to the center include state-of-the-art technology.

Whelan says “When it comes to our engineering lab, we are also going to have two 3D printers in each classroom so when you push a button it actually produces in the part instead of actually just producing a two-dimensional picture, it actually produces a working product. Then we are also going to have two lasers, one in each room, and the lasers will be able to cut out a variety of different materials and various objects.”

“This idea, to see it finally come to life, is really pretty cool,” says Whelan.