Architects from ARI in Duluth presented the Cloquet School Board with designs for the renovation of the Cloquet High School's career and tech space at the Monday, Nov. 23 meeting.

Board members weren't asked to take any official action on the up to $2 million project, but had time to ask questions about the plans.

The renovation would change the layout of the area to create a common fab lab that wood shop, metal shop and art students could use. It would also update the wood shop, metal lab, art and fabrication rooms. Funding for the project would come from the district's operating capital revenue.

The plans call for demolishing the interior walls that separate the spaces, which would be replaced with several glass windows.

"The glass walls would create more of an inviting atmosphere, and we hope they'd provide some excitement in the area as students passing by the exteriors of the spaces would be able to see some of the work being done on the new equipment," Kerry Leider of ARI said.

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The glass windows would also allow teachers to monitor students when they're working in another section of the space. For example, if an art student wanted to make a 3D model in the fabrication room, the teacher would still be able to keep an eye on the student without leaving their classroom.

"The idea is to have the spaces shared and allow students to feel comfortable using equipment in the shared spaces," said Superintendent Michael Carey. "And that way no matter where the teachers are, they can see the students in the other rooms and monitor multiple projects at the same time.

School board member Jim Crowley asked if the addition of windows posed a safety issue if an intruder enters the school.

"I don't see any place for the safety of the kids to hide," Crowley said.

Carey said the district has started to move away from a shelter-in-place emergency plan. The district uses ALICE training which encourages students to safely exit the building if possible.

"We felt that with the extra exits that this new layout provides, that took care of that piece," Carey said. "And we took into consideration the relative risks; what's the likelihood of us having a situation like that in the building versus the likelihood that a child could accidentally hurt themselves on a piece of equipment in the shop. Weighing those risks, it felt like the latter was more likely so we leaned that way."

The wood shop would include a new overhead door. There would also be a new main door in both the wood and metal labs. The doors were added to more easily bring larger projects into the rooms, but could also be used in case of emergency. The new labs would also include furniture on casters that could be moved aside when working on larger projects.

All of the new spaces have emergency electrical shut offs that could be used to cut equipment power in case of an accident.

No action was taken on the proposed plans for the CTE area. The next step in the project is to call for bids.