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Curriculum committee recommends bid awards for new program

ALPENA — During its meeting on Tuesday, the Alpena Public Schools Curriculum and Technology Committee recommended bid awards for the new mechatronics program that is going to be a part of the career and technical education program at Alpena High School starting the 2018-19 school year.

“We had a bid opening for the mechatronics lab at the high school,” Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner said.

VanWagoner said the equipment order has to happen soon so it can get to the school on time.

The school district received a $400,000 grant in January for the mechatronics program and the bid items that the board is going to approve on Monday will account for $241,550 of the grant money. VanWagoner said the rest of the grant money will be used to purchase a laser engraver and a HAAS Mini Mill that he said will be a large purchase.

“We had on here a mill and we did not get a bid,” VanWagoner said. “With the laser engraver, we did get two bids on it but we’re not terribly thrilled with either of the models so we’re looking at a possible rebid with that.”

The school district had two bidders: Applied Technology Systems and Integrated Systems Technologies. All the items will come from ATS, but the school district is going to order a Fanuc Robotic System from IST.

Some items that are going to be purchased are an AC/DC learning system, electric motor controls, carbon fiber 3-D printer, electronic sensors, an annual subscription fee, along with many other items to help jumpstart the new program.

VanWagoner said CTE Program Director Joyce McCoy has taken a lot of time to look at equipment at other schools to get an idea of what to purchase for the program here.

“We are asking the committee to recommend to the board the equipment that is listed from ATS and IST,” VanWagoner said. “We do need to double-check our numbers so I will make sure we have that double-checked before it comes to the board on Monday.”

VanWagoner said there is one less wall in the middle of the old graphic arts room in the high school so the process for the new program already has started. He said he’s excited for what the mechatronics program will offer students starting next school year.

“We have a room that we’ve been able to expand and we’re in the process of remodeling,” he said. “It will really be able to provide students with 21st century skills in career and technical education.”

Full approval of the bid awards will happen during the APS board of education meeting on Monday.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.