Collinsville, Illinois July 30, 2015 – On Thursday, July 30, 2015, the Collinsville Area Vocational Center (CAVC) broke ground on a residential home marking the rebirth of its dormant building trades program. The project will provide hands-on construction experience for students from Collinsville, Mascoutah, Dupo, Lebanon, and Triad School Districts.
Over the next two years, building trades students will gain skills in framing, dry walling, roofing, trim work, flooring, and cabinet installation. They will participate in the project from foundation through completion åÐ supervised each step along the way by a certified instructor, Justin Cann.
The location at 400 East Church Street in Collinsville, was once the site of a dilapidated property. The condemned home was razed by Noeth Excavating of Caseyville. Rather than develop the property themselves, the Noeth family chose to donate the lot to the vocational center. George Noeth is a retired machining teacher from CACV and his sons, who own the excavating service, were educated in the program. The gift of the property meant the CAVC could once again offer real life training for students interested in the building arts.
Five years ago, the building trades program was cut from the CAVC budget. Costs associated with previous projects, the housing market crash, and the looming state funding crisis contributed to the decision.
CAVC Director Dr. Tricia Blackard said there was public outcry to bring back the program. We experienced a huge outpouring from the community, she said, So about two years ago we made a significant effort to reallocate financial resources. We started small with a community-based project to help with renovations on the historic Miners Theatre in Collinsville. Now, due to a turnaround in the market, we are ready to venture into housing again.
The East Church Street project is being made possible by generous support from the community. In addition to the property donation from the Noeth family, the City of Collinsville has waived or reduced thousands of dollars in fees. Oates Associates provided survey services at a significantly lowered cost. And through an agreement with Green Home Solutions and Southwestern Illinois College, SWIC students will install the HVAC system resulting in an estimated cost savings of $6,800. Other commitments, for jobs such as tree removal, are currently pending. Dr. Blackard says there was been a great response from the local home building community.
Recently, the demand for skilled tradespeople has increased as the economy and housing market gain strength. Dr. Blackard is taking calls from leaders of local construction companies who are looking for apprentices. Tons of area builders came through our program. As their industry begins to pick up speed, they know where to turn to find future building trades professionals.
The initial group of students enrolled for the home building project is 18. High school counselors have been instrumental in identifying students who might be interested in pursuing careers in a hands-on field. Participants in this project can earn credit from SWIC. Dr. Blackard says todays high school students often overlook fields in the trades. She says CAVC programs allow young people to apply their skills right away or pursue a two-year degree that can result in high paying wages.
In addition to building trades, CAVC offers instruction in welding, precision machining, college prep electronics, engineering, automobile maintenance technology, auto body repair, food services, clinical health occupations, early childhood education, criminal justice, and web & graphic design.
The CAVC is a two-year public vocational training center for junior and senior high school students. Housed on the campus of Collinsville High School, CAVC also includes students from four other area school districts: Mascoutah, Dupo, Lebanon, and Triad. CAVC was initiated in the 1970s to allow school districts to pool resources and provide one comprehensive program that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. CAVC is a group entity, but operates under the governance of Collinsville Community Unit School District 10.