Community Notices

Allegan ESA center breaks ground for auto tech facility

(From left) auto tech students Zach Roberts, Jayden Brecker, Jack Ordway, Hailee Kievit and James Butler, auto tech instructor Greg Sagodic.

A groundbreaking for a new $7 million auto tech building that will expand opportunities for students in Allegan County was held Thursday.

Allegan Area ESA officials, staff, students, community members and project partners gathered to celebrate the beginning of construction for a 22,000-square-foot facility with two 1,700 square-foot classrooms and two 7,000 square-foot hands-on workshops.

“This is all about meeting the needs of our students,” said Tech Center Director Rich Okoniewski. “We have had a backlog in the auto tech for years and this will allow us to double the number of slots available in that program.”

In his remarks, ESA Supt. William Brown said the project will not cause the district to incur any debt.“Through our careful planning and prudent financial management, we have successfully allocated the necessary funds to cover the entirety of this project without taking out any loans. This achievement underscores our dedication to maximizing every dollar entrusted to us by our community.”

The tech center is supported by a county-wide Career and Technical Education millage. These funds enable students to attend the tech center at no cost to them or their local school district.

The new Auto Tech building is scheduled to open in April 2025.

COVER PHOTO: Tech center director Rich Okoniewski, OAK site superintendent Steve McCaskey, assistant superintendent for finance and operations Abby Lloyd, State Senator Aric Nesbit, tech center assistant principal Ben Bever, maintenance supervisor Mark Jackson, board treasurer Leslie Ballard, board president Larry Collier, board vice president Rick Day, and ESA Superintendent William Brown.

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