High School gets Hands-on Learning with MK-lll

The Cazenovia Board of Education last week accepted two donations of technology equipment worth more than $170,000 that will give Cazenovia High School technology students unique opportunities to construct and maintain both a weather station on the high school roof and an automated switch manufacturing work cell once used by Marquardt Switches.

Once the switch machine is situated and implemented, Cazenovia will be the only high school in the country with an operational manufacturing work cell in its building for instructional use.

"The generous donations that were accepted by the board will enrich our students' technology experiences for years to come and are a testament to the community's commitment to our students and the relationships that Chris Hurd and the technology department have built with people and businesses in the community," said Cazenovia CSD Superintendent Matt Reilly.

Hurd, Career Technical Education department chair at Cazenovia High School, presented the two donation requests to the school board at its Jan. 26 regular monthly meeting.

Weather Station

The MK-III Weather Station by RainWise is a professional weather station that can be used by science and technology students within the district to monitor the weather as well as to improve their technological skills by monitoring and maintaining the equipment and sensors in the device. Students also will design and install a mast for the station. There are also plans to put the station’s information on the district website and offer the entire community up-to-the-minute readings of local weather, Hurd said.

The weather station, which is valued at $1,300, would be mounted on the high school roof, is 33 inches high and weighs just over seven pounds. It is a wireless system that has a solar-charged battery.

Cazenovia resident Don Stehle, who is also a volunteer engineer in the EDD classroom where he mentors and advises students on their senior projects, donated the weather station. He already has paid $600 to refurbish the device; the district will have to pay less than $100 to install and implement the device, Hurd said.

The Cazenovia district currently has a weather station, but it is inoperable and too expensive to repair, Hurd told the board.

"This is a really nice weather station. It's a professional one, the same as they have at the Cazenovia Yacht Club," Hurd said.

The board’s approval means that the weather station should be on the high school roof and operational "before spring," although when the weather data will be available on the technology department website is unknown, Hurd said.

Manufacturing work cell

Marquardt Switches has offered to donate an automated switch manufacturing work cell that manufactures DeWalt power tool switches. A work cell is defined as a manufacturing unit consisting of a group of work stations and their interconnecting materials-transport mechanisms.

This cell was used for years in the manufacturing of switches at the Marquardt plant on Route 20 in Nelson, and comes with multiple parts, including an electric turntable, pneumatic control and clamping devices, programmable logic controllers, part conveyor, computer controller and all safety devices and shields.

The unit, which is valued at $173,000, can be used in the instruction of all tech students in grades 7 through 12 and will be "a unique opportunity for students in Cazenovia to see how manufacturing is done in today’s world," Hurd said. His goal is to use the device to demonstrate all of the advanced manufacturing principles taught in the Computer Integrated Manufacturing course, and to all tech students in grades 7 and 8.

There also will be an opportunity for seniors in the Engineering Design and Development class to use the acquisition of the unit as a senior project, Hurd said. The work cell has been stored at a Marquardt warehouse in Rochester and, after it is delivered to the high school on Tuesday, Feb. 3, it will be sitting in the garage of the agriculture shop, too large to move into the technology classroom.

Hurd said his students will create a plan to deconstruct the cell, take it apart themselves, document the procedure using 3-D modeling and then reassemble the cell in the technology classroom.

"I have no idea how long that will take," he said.

Hurd told the school board that Marquardt has committed to help the district make the work cell operable. This assistance includes the switch company’s help in overseeing the deconstruction and reconstruction, as well as to provide training to Hurd that will allow him to utilize the unit with students, he said.

Hurd said the cost to install and implement the work cell is estimated to be $1,500 to $2,000.

Board President Pat Vogl asked about the safety issues and liability concerns that can come with having a working manufacturing device in the classroom. Hurd said all the safety devices are intact on the unit, that it is fully enclosed in plexiglass and all the electricals are enclosed in a locked box.

The board unanimously voted to approve the donations of both the weather station and the work cell.

"I really want to thank Done Strehle and everybody at Marquardt for their generous donations," Hurd said. "It is great to see our local community supporting the technology department with such generosity, especially in light of the recent budget issues plaguing our district and others across the state."

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