Horizon may get vocation funding

Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 13, 2003 at 9:30 p.m.
Mold and mildew may have crept into buildings at the Alachua County School Board's Horizon Center, but that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm for a grant that would impart vocational skills to students at the alternative school.
At tonight's meeting, School Board members are expected to give the go-ahead to apply for an $85,224 grant that will assist Horizon in implementing five vocational units as part of a project serving Duval Heights community.
Those programs include auto mechanics, auto detailing, hospitality, groundskeeping and custodial skills. The Horizon Center is an alternative placement center for about 150 Alachua County students with discipline problems.
"The kids would be subjected to something we hope would teach them some entrepreneurial skills so they can be employable," said Horizon Principal Mike Monaghan.
"The community service aspect would allow students to serve those who are in need and can't pay for services by giving them free oil changes, cooking meals for them, cutting their grass or painting their house," he said.
While students have participated in community service projects that have been funded through the state for years, the new federal money will allow the school to introduce the vocational skills components and offer them to all students.
The Horizon Center was moved to its current location at 2802 NE 8th Ave. in 1994 after School Board officials decided to combine middle and high school students in the program.
Since then, School Board members have been indecisive about whether to build a permanent facility for those students or move them to a permanent facility.
"Our programs have not been a big priority for past boards," Monaghan said. "This looked like something that would be helpful to the kids."
And now, another factor is plaguing officials.
After years of complaints from teachers and staff about rot and mildew in the 27 portables they work in, recent air sample tests showed that four portable classrooms had spore counts between two and five times what is normal. That prompted officials to replace those four units and test all the portables at the school.
Those results, however, are not complete.
"We're continuing to do the obvious in repair items that we're aware of and will abide by whatever the report tells us," said Ed Gable, director of maintenance, planning and construction for Alachua County schools.
Meanwhile, Monaghan hopes officials will continue to provide upgrades.
"We do have some things to get ready for that grant, such as pouring slabs for the auto mechanics and detailing programs that we're putting on hold pending some kind of action that would lend us a building," Monaghan said. "I just want to be somewhere that's safe and conducive to learning."
Cathi Carr can be reached at 374-5086 or carrc@gvillesun.com.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top