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Pike unites to build barn for PCHS

Members of the community gathered at the newly constructed barn on the Pike County High School campus Friday, Sept. 4 for the barn’s grand opening. ’This all started as an idea of FFA and ag teacher Rachel Patrick at the middle school,’ said FFA Alumni president Beth Camp. ‘She applied for the Operation Round Up grant from Southern Rivers and they believed in her vision enough to offer us a $10,000 grant.’ Many of those in attendance also helped the project become a reality through various types of contributions. The barn will be used by PCHS agriculture students and Future Farmers of America members throughout the school year. ’The community really came together to build this barn,’ said Camp. ‘The administration assisted us greatly in getting the building on the property and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s cooperation. We are very fortunate because the Department of Corrections was outstanding about getting the work done at no additional cost. Melissa Bottoms of Pike’s Farm Bureau and I were at the barn nearly every day making sure everything was on track. Thankfully Southern Rivers Energy was kind enough to give us a $10,000 grant – and the community chipped in and gave the rest of the money needed.’ The new barn has a wash room where students can prepare animals when showing them in competitions and where students can learn how to care for the animals in different ways. The barn has a tack room to keep equipment needed for caring for the animals. ’This barn took a lot of people working together to get it to this point today,’ said Southern Rivers Energy director of marketing Bobby Ferris. ‘The school has gone from having one agriculture teacher to having three agriculture teachers and a feeder program at the middle school. We are giving these kids an opportunity and the skills to be successful.’ This year there will three ag teachers at PCHS, including Morgan Hurkmans who will teach the Animal Science Pathway and use the barn as her lab space for students. Agriculture Mechanics teacher Chase McGill will primarily use the machine shop and Horitculture building for his Pathway but he will also oversee students as they build the stalls for the barn. Award-winning agriculture teacher Greg Waits will continue to teach from the STEM Academy but will be able to use the barn for certain lessons and for the many FFA students at PCHS. ’There are more than 425 FFA students and that number has grown threefold in the past few years,’ said Waits. The large 42 foot by 84 foot pole barn has a concrete foundation and is located right behind the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math building. ’This will allow students to learn a lot of hands-on ag science and learn about animal health first hand,’ said Camp. ‘The students can have hands-on exposure to animals instead of just reading about them. The students will actually be building the six stalls and will learn how to measure and cut and all the things that go into creating an animal facility. A lot of students wouldn’t have a chance to raise livestock on their own because they don’t have a place to keep the animals,’ Waits added. FFA students helped raise funds for the project by selling ice cream at the Concord Country Jubilee and contacting local donors. ’If you have a worthwhile project, Pike County is a fabulous place to live,’ said Camp. ‘People will come together to help make it a reality. People saw as a worthwhile cause and they were willing to give their time and money to make it possible. A lot of student applications are going to be made possible because of this barn.’ Assistant principal James Standford said since each of the Ag Pathways intertwine, they will all be able to use the barn for various lessons. ’The board of education would like to thank all the sponsors and donors who made this building possible,’ said superintendent Dr. Michael Duncan. ‘This is a great example of what a true public-private partnership can accomplish. On behalf of our students we are truly thankful.’

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