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Advanced manufacturing opens at Salisbury High School

SALISBURY — Advanced manufacturing is up and running at Salisbury High School.

Though the labs have been open and classes held since the beginning of the school year, Salisbury High held a grand opening for the program Wednesday afternoon.

“The first of August, this was still an art room,” said Mandy Mills, CTE director for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, tapping her foot on the newly painted concrete floor. “So we moved really fast.”

Plans for the program have been in the works for a long time, but it wasn’t until recently that community support and a Golden LEAF grant greased the wheels and sped up implementation.

Now, students can study mechatronics, engineering design and robotics.

“The reaction has been overwhelming,” Principal Luke Brown said. “Out of 900 students, we had more than 300 sign up.”

Called the Hornet’s NEST (Next-Level Engineering Science Technology), the two-classroom lab occupies what used to be the school’s art building. The interior has been renovated with new paint and tile, a robot course, and computers for coding and design.

“It feels great to see the program come to life,” Brown said.

Students who complete Salisbury High’s advanced manufacturing course will be able to become industry-certified as a production technician.

“If they learn to do this, they can do lots of different jobs,” Mills said.

Brown said one of the main draws for students is not just the usefulness of the program but the opportunities it offers to build and create.

The program will cost roughly $1.1 million to launch, and N.E.S.T. is just the first phase. A $700,000 Golden LEAF grant the district received will see to the rest: a machining lab in the school’s Lash building.

Mills and school officials hope to have the next phase up and running by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.

“I’m very excited about the future and what we’re going to see come out of this,” Brown said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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