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CHS and Hi-Lo Collaboration


Posted Date: 04/05/2017

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A cooperative venture with a local manufacturer is broadening the experience of students taking construction classes at Chanute High School.

Bobbie Forrest’s construction students from CHS and NCCC are working with Hi-Lo Manufacturing to build and install new lockers in the Royster Middle School band room.

In October, the students used traditional methods to build lockers for a baseball field. This semester, they are learning how cabinets are built using state-of-the-art technology.

This experience “gives students an opportunity to see how the skills they are learning can be used in a manufacturing setting,” Forrest said.

“The construction method of the lockers will showcase to the students how precision parts can be custom made and yet mass produced efficiently,” said Jeff Caldwell, general manager at Hi-Lo Manufacturing.

Caldwell led the students on tours of the manufacturing process at its West Cherry facility and at the Bridgewood Cabinet site in the Chanute Industrial Park. They watched the computer design for the cabinets and witnessed the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinery custom cut the pieces of wood, drill holes and insert dowels in the manufacturing process.

Caldwell and Forrest worked together to divide up the project tasks to maximize the student’s learning experience.

“Hi-Lo will donate the materials and fully process them into ready to assemble lockers. The students will take those components and then assemble them into the final product installed in the Royster band room,” Caldwell said.

who is also a USD 413 school board member, The Hi-Lo general manager, said “the goal is to provide an opportunity for Chanute High School and Neosho County Community College students exposure to as much real-world learning as possible.”

The district’s superintendent, school administrators and board want opportunities to bring "outside the classroom learning opportunities" to Chanute students. The need for new band lockers seemed like the perfect opportunity for the schools and Hi-Lo to partner on the project that is mutually beneficial as a result of collaboratively bringing their strengths and resources to the table,” Caldwell said.

In the end, the students, Hi-Lo and the community benefit from the collaboration.

Projects like this lets students “know that there are opportunities here in the community to use their skills,” Forrest said.

They are seeing practical applications of math, communication, construction and business processes and computer aided design. They are also getting a real-world preview of the types of jobs that could be available to them both locally and worldwide.

“Hi-Lo gets the opportunity to get students excited about staying local and pursuing manufacturing as a career,” Caldwell said. “We have all kinds of jobs available at Hi-Lo and place a high value on individuals with a broad skill set,” who want to work as machine and finishing specialists to computer programmers, engineers or in customer service and sales.

The schools and community benefit by having an estimated $35,000 project completed, with no material or labor costs from the students or Hi-Lo.

Story By: Connie Woodard

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Chanute High School
1501 W 36th St
Chanute, Kansas 66720
Phone: 620.432.2510