CLCS Unveils New Manufacturing Complex
Chautauqua Lake Central School District recently unveiled its new Baker Stuart Manufacturing Complex, which the school hopes to utilize to provide students from across the county with additional manufacturing opportunities.
According to Dan McCray, 7-12 grade manufacturing and technology teacher, the new Baker Stuart Manufacturing Complex provides students at CLCS with opportunities to learn and “gain valuable experiences” through state of the art technology in plastics, wood and composite production.
“The space embodies a STEM lab manufacturing environment where rapid prototyping, CAD and CAM programming and machining, and full scale production processes can be emulated by students seeking to enhance their future endeavors in STEM and manufacturing,” McCray said.
The school’s administration believes the manufacturing program offered at the school will “compliment” its already existing Project Lead the Way engineering courses. With the new Baker Stuart Manufacturing Complex, CLCS will be able to implement “soft and technical skill sets” with “innovate materials” into its manufacturing and production courses.
The newly renovated manufacturing space at CLCS required collaboration between the school district’s administration, teaching staff and local industry stakeholders. Through discussions with local stakeholders, the district was able to design a space and a program that would integrate technology that would be “conducive” to “real world applications” and would meet modern manufacturing standards.
According to the school district, CLCS students have been able to explore the “project based learning” opportunities in the new manufacturing complex, providing ways for students to utilize their creativity and design skills in various projects. Middle and high school students are currently preparing to use the manufacturing complex’s computer numerical control laser engraving technologies.
Jay Baker, CEO of Jamestown Plastics and former CLCS Board president, described the “amazing journey” of the school’s manufacturing program. He explained that what started as a “lunch time club” has become a “cornerstone” of the school’s curriculum.
Baker said the analytical skills included in the school’s manufacturing program offer “enormous” benefits for all students. Regardless of each student’s career path, Baker believes the program will help each student opportunities to learn important skills.
“Manufacturing is what built the nation we live in and frankly why we continue to be the strongest nation in the world,” he said. “The opportunities in manufacturing are only limited by one’s desire, imagination and work ethic. This is the message we deliver to our students every day.”
Baker explained that the program allows students to not only “dream” of creating a product, but also teaches students to design products and make them a “tangible” reality, which he said is an “incredibly empowering” skill set for anyone to learn.
From Baker’s perspective, one of the most satisfying parts of the school’s manufacturing program is seeing students develop self-confidence.
“This program is just hitting its stride,” he said. Given the incredible support from the CLCS administration, school board, faculty and school community the sky is the limit.”
Superintendent Josh Liddell explained that the manufacturing program is something the school has developed over the past decade.
“Over the last ten years Chautauqua Lake has put in a tremendous amount of effort and resources to develop a STEM and Manufacturing program that provides students the opportunity to successfully transition directly into the workforce, to college or a technical school,” he said.
Liddell said the school’s goal has always been to provide the program both for Chautauqua Lake students and for students across the county. He added that the school has been “fortunate” that students from Maple Grove, Brocton and Fredonia have already taken advantage of the manufacturing program.
“Our present manufacturing complex addition has enabled us to expand the program and our partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology and Jamestown Community College,” he said.
According to Liddell, students will now be offered six courses certified by RIT. Starting in ninth grade, students will be able to obtain college credits. By graduation, students can complete a full semester of RIT college credits.
Liddell explained that the school has also increased the amount of JCC manufacturing courses it offers. Prior to graduation, students can obtain more than a semester of college credits from JCC through the manufacturing program.
“In total, we offer 11 manufacturing, engineering and STEM courses that total 33 college credits,” he said. “This saves our students and their families money and enables them to shorten the time needed to complete a two or four year degree.”
Liddell expressed his gratitude for the collaboration and support the school’s manufacturing program has received from the Gene Haas Foundation, CPL Architectural Firm, Erie 2 BOCES, Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth, the Community Foundation, Dream It Do It of WNY and various local manufacturing companies.
Liddell added that the new manufacturing complex would not have been possible without the “vision, support and guidance” of Randy Stuart and Jay Baker. Liddell said Baker and Stuart were the “driving force” behind the school making the new manufacturing complex a reality.
Randy Stuart, founder of Stuart Tool and Die, said the vision of the manufacturing complex at CLCS was to provide students with the ability to create and build various projects, while “dreaming” of how they could eventually pursue a career in manufacturing. Over the past decade, Stuart said the manufacturing program has helped students pursue manufacturing jobs, college education and trade school.
“My hopes for the manufacturing complex is to keep bringing kids through the program that will eventually go into one of many possible career paths, careers that for some will lead to being entrepreneurs and business owners in many fields,” he said. “That in turn will help to put others to work that ultimately will have a positive impact on our economy and our communities.”
Rachel Curtin, secondary principal, said the district is “thrilled to provide students with opportunities to receive training in the manufacturing program with “cutting edge” technology.
“Project-based learning is a key component of our STEM complex and curriculum,” she said. “Our students are working on real-world projects that teach them how to not only read blueprints and schematics to create projects, but also to become a product designer.”
Curtin said the school’s welding program helps students learn how to safely weld and shape metal through the development of various manufacturing skills. The manufacturing complex’s state of the art woodworking shop also provides students with critical experience using stationary power tools, which include table saws, band saws, shapers, planers, and other tools.
“When I observe students working with Mr. McCray’s guidance, I see a diversity of projects and a unique integration of problem-solving and critical thinking skills,” she said. “When you think about manufacturing, it’s important to remember the creative process and individual skill that brings projects and a team together.”
Curtin said McCray’s manufacturing program not only provides students with training in manufacturing, welding, woodworking and design, but also takes into consideration each student’s desire to find success in the various STEM courses.
According to Curtin, the projects included in the manufacturing program challenge students to work together to solve problems, design and build various products and “spark ideas” that could be used to launch future small business opportunities in the community.
The manufacturing program offered at CLCS currently has half-day and full day options available for students from other districts.
“We welcome partnerships that grow our community’s manufacturing and engineering workforce,” Curtin said. “If you are interested in your child joining the CLCS Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing program, please do not hesitate to contact us at 716-753-5882.”