Chilliwack school seeks a shop makeover

A.D. Rundle middle school is hoping to raise funds for new shop equipment through the new initiative Project Shop Class.

A.D. Rundle middle school was one of several schools selected by the Construction Foundation of BC to participate in Project Shop Class

Cory Britton doesn’t feel comfortable complaining about the shop at his school.

The shop teacher at A.D. Rundle middle school is quick to praise the parents and school community for all they’ve done in supporting the workspace.

But still, even to the untrained eye. there are glaring deficiencies.

The equipment is old. Some of it doesn’t work. And the stuff that has been replaced has been done on the cheap to stretch the dollars as far as they can go.

Built in 1967, most of the technology equipment in the school’s metalwork and woodwork shops is original.

“Due to their age, it’s very hard to find parts to replace and repair these machines,” said Britton, who’s had to build parts or alter the machines in order to make them operable. “We have been trying to replace some of the worn-out equipment, but find it difficult to purchase larger ticket items of good quality.”

Britton hopes Project Shop Class will change that.

Project Shop Class is a first time fundraising initiative of the Construction Foundation of BC, an organization aimed at encouraging students to pursue careers in skilled trades. By rebuilding and retrofitting school shop classes with state-of-the-art equipment, the foundation believes it will increase awareness around trades and produce skilled workers for the future.

Britton agrees.

Currently A.D. Rundle’s shops are declining in enrollment. The school cannot offer the same specialized programs that other middle schools can, like robotics and computer programming, because it doesn’t have the means to purchase the equipment required for those courses. Students are frustrated with long lineups due to broken and less-efficient technologies. And an aboriginal woodworking course that the school believes could benefit a significant portion of its population remains on the back burner until necessary funding for tools required can be obtained.

Of the school’s 260 students, a third are aboriginal.

Aboriginal woodworking would focus on cultural techniques, like carving and basket weaving, and would incorporate local resources, as well as have elders and aboriginal artists working with students.

“The more students we can get into the shop courses, the more we are able to reach those students who struggle academically,” said Britton.

The way Project Shop Class works is schools submit their wish list and construction-minded businesses and individuals donate.

In order to make A.D. Rundle a shop class of today, let alone the future, it requires $58,000 in equipment and classroom upgrades.

A.D. Rundle is one of 115 schools seeking funding support, totaling $8.9 million.

For more information, or to donate, visit the website www.projectshopclass.com/schools/van/rundle/

A.D. RUNDLE’S WISHLIST:

• CNC router $5,190

• Laptops (10) $7,347

• Metal lathes (3) $12,346

• Finch robots (12) $1,680

• Traditional aboriginal carving tool set (12) $800

• Slice proof gloves $480

• Air compressor $1,900