News 11/22/10

Grants will provide funding for new science lab building

Two significant grants have been awarded to Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District for the purpose of improving agriculture and science classes at Loyalton High School. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District to construct a new science facility at Loyalton High.

According to Superintendent Stan Hardeman the current LHS library portable building will be moved to make way for the new science facility, which will be either another portable building or a metal building. Hardeman said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds will be funneled through the State of California through a state bond that was approved for such projects. The district will provide matching funds by moving one of the current portables at the middle school to the old middle school for a Sierra County youth program.

An additional $50,000 will be provided by the Rural Occupation Program for laboratory furniture and equipment, and Hardeman indicated that additional funding of $30,000 may also be available through the Rural Ocupation Program.

Loyalton High School currently receives career-technical education funding through ROP for LHS’s contruction and agriculture programs. The ROP programs for Sierra County schools are administered through the regional ROP office in Quincy.

One question that hasn’t been answered is where the Loyalton High library will end up. Hardeman said there are a couple options. Either the current library equipment and books will be moved into one of the classrooms in the main LHS building or the existing portable will be moved to another location on the Loyalton High campus, possibly near the current independent study program classroom behind the shop facilities.

Principal Marla Stock indicated that she hoped the library could be incorporated into one of the current classrooms in the main building. The library formerly was located in room 103, which is currently Spanish and math teacher Sue Gressel’s room. The library was moved many years ago with a vision that it could be better accessed by the general community if it were housed in a building separate from the main school building.

Hardeman said that the current physical sciences laboratory, which is located in room 115, will be abandoned as a science classroom and used for another purpose. It is intended, he said, that all science classes will use the new science building for laboratory work, while general instruction could still take place in regular classrooms.

Principal Marla Stock said that the grant is a career-technical education grant, but that other science classes will benefit from the new facility as well. She indicated that agriculture classes will use the new facility for their laboratory experiments. The superintendent said he was not certain when construction could begin or end. Hardeman indicated that architectural plans had to be designed and then approved through two different state offices.

Agriculture science teacher Cali Griffin said that many creative plans are in the works to take advantage of various local resources. She indicated that utilizing the agriculture and natural resources in the area will allow the school to expand current agriculture pathways at LHS—such as agriscience, animal science, forestry and natural resources, and ornamental horticulture—and ultimately develop new ones, to include agriculture business and plant and soil science.

Science teacher Caleb Dorsey said he wasn’t aware of the specific plans for the science laboratory, but he expects that much of the current equipment could be used instead of purchasing all new equipment.

For the 2010-11 school year physical sciences teacher Dino Marinoni has been on personal leave. His classroom is not being used except on a project basis. Marinoni was  a science and mathematics teacher at LHS for the previous 17 years.

The school district is pursuing many kinds of grants to fund various projects at its schools. The district contracts with grant writer Cathy Rahmeyer to secure specially designated funds, which must be used according to each grant’s original intent.


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