Arrowhead High School opens manufacturing, engineering center

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Arrowhead High School in Hartland opened its new 10,000-square-foot design engineering manufacturing center earlier this month. A public-private initiative, the hands-on learning center is designed to jumpstart high school students’ interest, engagement and skill level in manufacturing and engineering careers.

Arrowhead design engineering manufacturing center Hartland
Arrowhead High School in Hartland opened its new 10,000-square-foot design engineering manufacturing center earlier this month.

The center consists of two engineering labs, a manufacturing lab, an innovation lab and a design lab. Previously, the school had a woodworking area, a small engines area, a seldom-used metalworking area and outdated equipment, according to Bonnie Laugerman, project leader for the center.
“With student access to real-world applied experience in a state-of-the-art facility, the center will serve as a skilled trade incubator for area businesses – not just in Hartland – but across southeastern Wisconsin and beyond,” Laugerman said. “We are addressing an unmet need at the high school level to adapt curriculum to support students pursuing both skilled trades and engineering jobs.”

To showcase the new center, Arrowhead is planning to hold a tour on Sept. 30 for donors and invited businesses interested in the project. An open house for parents and the general public is set for Oct. 19.

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The school board obtained the initial $2 million for the first phase of the project, which consisted of the infrastructure, demolition and furnishings. Arrowhead is now in the process of securing additional funds for phase two, which will further enhance the school’s equipment and educational offerings.

So far business executives from Menomonee Falls-based Ace Precision Machining Corp., Menomonee Falls-based Bradley Corp., Hartland-based Dorner Manufacturing Corp., Waukesha-based Midwest Engineering Systems Inc., and Hartland-based Price Engineering Co. Inc. have provided financial support and industry guidance for the initiative.

“For future engineers and skilled workers, this center gives students the opportunities to create, research, innovate, collaborate, problem solve, make and lead,” said superintendent Laura Myrah. “For area businesses, the center will provide a pipeline of motivated, skilled employees who can begin to fill the manufacturing job gap throughout our region and beyond. While this project is unique to Arrowhead, it serves as a model for other high schools across Wisconsin and the Midwest.”

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This fall, 260 students are enrolled in Arrowhead’s new courses: Instruction to Engineering and Manufacturing, which provides hands-on learning, and Manufacturing and Engineering with Materials through the application of a variety of processes that use the materials of metals, plastics, woods and composites. Principles of Engineering, an existing course, will also be taught in the center.

Milwaukee-based architectural firm Eppstein Uhen designed the center, and Miron Construction, also of Milwaukee, built it.

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