GENTRY (KFSM) -- Gentry voters approved a millage for the school on Tuesday (Sept. 20) that will allow the school to build two new student buildings.
Gentry High School is now Gentry High School Conversion Charter. The district can now provide vocational opportunities for students, one of those being diesel mechanics. With the passing of the millage the district will get to move forward with a building for the program on land already owned by the district.
Nick Hockenberry is glad to have the opportunity to take classes that fit his interest.
“I was pretty excited; you know, finally a class I wasn`t going to dread all day," Hockenberry said. "You know I got to come do something that I like doing and working on,”
The groundbreaking for the diesel technician lab will take place later this fall. The plan is to have the building up and running for the fall 2017 semester.
Gentry started the program after the city`s main industry, Mckee Foods, said they were in need of diesel mechanics.
The classes are taught by one of the company's diesel technicians.
Superintendent Randy Barrett said other Northwest Arkansas companies have also donated motors and other things needed to teach the classes.
“If they want to go right out into the work world, it will allow that company to say okay you have the basic skills now and we can train you like we want you to do,” Barrett said.
Barrett said he thinks that not only will this program be beneficial for students, but also for Northwest Arkansas companies.
“When that building is up and we have kids in there that whatever work and whatever effort and any hard knocks you might get along the way in the process will all be worth it to have that opportunity out there for our kids,” Barrett said.
The diesel technicians program is currently open to Decatur and Gravette high school students. They are hoping to add other districts in the future.
Gentry will also be building a new intermediate school for the third through fifth grade.