SAN BENITO — It looks like the school district will receive a state-of-the-art ambulance simulator and two new greenhouses.
Without hesitation, the school board approved the purchases of all three projects for the Career and Technology Program.
The two greenhouse projects, which have already been budgeted for will cost the district approximately $62,000.
The ambulance simulator and its included features will cost the district about $67,000 of already budgeted money.
In order to accommodate the growing program, the district has added new programs over the years, as well as new equipment.
The simulator and greenhouses are just an added bonus to the students.
Enrollment in these programs has also increased with the expansion. Last week, school board members discussed the possibility of purchasing the new equipment.
Hector Rendon, CTE Director, requested the purchase of an ambulance simulator for the health science program and discussed building two greenhouses for the agriculture program.
“These projects will enhance the specific instructions related to their respective essential knowledge and skills,” Rendon said.
Board members seemed to agree with the idea.
“We are always trying to build on the career and technology programs,” said Superintendent Dr. Adrian Vega.
The new ambulance purchase will benefit the students who are required to obtain clinical hours or experience before successfully graduating from the EMT program.
Rendon said prior to program changes, students were required to obtain 36 hours of clinical work. Now they are required to obtain 48. The students, who are considered the largest class so far at 14, will also be able to stay local for testing.
The simulator will be used by students after school and on weekends.
Among its features are emergency lights and siren activation, as well as vehicle movement to simulate driving conditions such as bumps and turns.
This, Rendon said, helps EMT students become familiarized with their future career in a more realistic manner, while also overcoming any environmental distractions.
“This will give the students the knowledge and confidence that they need in real life emergency situations,” said Rendon.
The only other schools to have these tools are Los Fresnos CISD and South Texas ISD.
Seeing as how those districts are considered high performing, Vega said the purchase of an ambulance simulator would be “huge” for the district.
While the EMT students practice saving lives, the agriculture students will be working on improving their green thumbs.
The current greenhouse that sits on the high school campus is about 25 years old. To adapt to changing times, Rendon said the current greenhouse requires upgrades and modernization. The changes will start on the greenhouse located at the high school first.
Due to the enhanced activity, the greenhouse will be expanded to fit more students, making it easy and accessible to high school students.
“It will be adjacent to the existing agriculture science classroom. It shall have a cooling wall with exhaust fans measuring 30-foot-by-72-foot-by-8-foot,” said Rendon.
The second greenhouse will be built near the Sonny Brazil Agriculture Complex.
The new 30-foot-by-48-foot structure will be utilized by the students at Veterans Memorial Academy Ninth Grade Campus.