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Many students use the FFA barn to house show animals. Pictured are (l-r) Makenzi Prince, Kirsten Lutke, Savannah Selman, Lorelei Kompelien, Kaden Mitchell, Walker Davis, Gracelyn Moseley, Emma Prince, Ty Garner, Amy Pohle, Cason Bird, Kali Garner, Isabel Bailey, Allie Lawrence and Annikah Self. To help improve the FFA barn, scan the QR code below or go to square.link/u/3ISmHSmM.

Help improve burned FFA barn

A December fire at the Pike County High School’s FFA barn has displaced the animals but students, teachers and community members are working together to repair and improve the barn for future animals and students. The fire started from a heating lamp which was used to warm the animals and two show pigs were killed. The rest of the animals were saved thanks to three teachers who were enjoying a Sunday afternoon walk. Click or scan the URL below to make a donation to help with upgrades at the PCHS FFA barn.


“We have insurance money in hand for just the repairs of the area that burned and we are now working with the contractor on that. We are asking for help from our community with donations to make improvements and enhance the safety of our animals and students that use the barn,” said PCHS animal science teacher and FFA advisor Shannon Bartlett. “The goal for the building is to fully enclose it to allow for a heating system that has already been donated to warm the barn. Using a heat system will eliminate the need for heat lamps in the stalls, where the animals have the opportunity to knock them down. In order to enclose the barn, we will need a roll-up door to allow tractor access in the barn and an exhaust fan that brings fresh air into the barn for the animals to breathe and reduces the risk of respiratory infections. We have had water pipes burst multiple times from the weather. Our goal is to move all plumbing between the walls so they will be better insulated.” 

Board of education members recognized several teachers who have stepped up to help organize fundraisers and have worked with students to build a temporary housing area in the school’s mechanics barn.

“We’d like to recognize the extra work that these teachers have done to take care of the students and their animals and for the fundraising efforts these teachers have made,” said school board member Marcie Bradberry. “Every little bit helps and they are still looking for more funding to help with improvements.”

Bradberry noted that she and District 135 Rep. Beth Camp, two of the owners of The Concord Cafe, were instrumental in getting the FFA built in the first place and they hosted a benefit concert Dec. 30 to raise funds for repairs.

In addition to donations raised that night, the restaurant owners donated 20% of their profits to the barn restoration efforts. Caldwell Farms donated all the ground beef used and Steve Davis, a hog team member’s father, donated the cheese, bacon and brisket from his company, U.S. Foods.

“We had two amazing bands donate their time and play at no charge. They were The Montgomery Pike and Harrison Pugh and the Kampfire Collective! Both of these bands have past and present FFA officers in them,” said Shannon. “We received $1,075 in electronic donations and $629 in cash/checks from our community members and supporters. The Montgomery Pike gave $493 from their donation jar that night. We had a teacher from the high school donate $2,000 – Wayne Lowry. Keadle Lumber also donated $2,000 to the BOE for the barn restoration.”

The barn was built in 2015 after seed funding was provided by Southern Rivers Energy and other funds were raised from members of the community.

“Our FFA students have truly benefited from this livestock barn. The students keep their SAE projects there when they are not able to at home. They gather and train as a team and learn responsibility by caring for their hogs. These life skills they learn would not be available to them without this barn,” said Shannon. “Our barn was first built about nine years ago by our FFA Alumni and the community coming together to make this possible for the students. We graciously ask for continued support. If you would like to donate to the barn you can write a check to the Pike County FFA Alumni, which can be delivered to the high school or use our QR code for an electronic donation.” 

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