CHARLOTTE, Mich. — Agriculture is a big part of many people's lives in and around Charlotte. Soon, Charlotte Public School students will have an updated agricultural learning center where they will get hands-on experience.
The new center will have space for up to 24 livestock pens, a large feeding room, secure outdoor livestock space and an outdoor livestock bathing area. Money for the project comes from the $36 million bond passed in 2020.
Charlotte Public Schools has agricultural learning in the curriculum and offers an after-school FFA program for students interested in agriculture and leadership.
Tyler Wilson is in the FFA program and a sophomore at Charlotte High School. He said the upgrades mean a lot to him.
"I have shown pigs through our FFA since my seventh-grade year," Wilson said. "So, three years now, and we've been getting by with this, but it's been really tight on space, and it will be really good for us to get that extra space and be able to branch out to sheep and goats."
Agriscience instructor and FFA adviser at Charlotte High School Nick Thompson said the FFA program, which started in 1928, is the oldest in the state.
He said the new building will allow more students to have more opportunities in agriculture.
"Being able to integrate technology into our lessons and then you know tie that right into things like livestock that are going to be here housed in the building. It's going to have about twice the square footage of the current facility," Thompson said.
Superintendent Mandy Stewart said, with the old building, they were asking community members to host animals to have more students in the program.
The agricultural learning center is expected to be complete by the winter semester, and Stewart said she's looking forward to watching students interact with the animals.
"It's really important to them, and they're passionate about it. And it's wonderful to see that kind of enthusiasm for something they can use as a career," Stewart said.
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