Growing Farmers: CCHS To Plant Ag Learning Center

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Agriculture students at Cannon County High School, as well as farmers in the general area, could soon benefit from a grant that would help provide the funds to build a $200,000 facility on the school grounds, educators revealed during the July meeting of the Cannon County Board of Education Thursday.

Cannon County High School teachers Courtney Nichols and Bob Melton discussed a Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement grant during the meeting and indicated funds are available to help build an Agriculture Learning Center at the high school.

“It appears the funds are there and we have the ground,” Melton told the Board. “We need this approved to allow us to build a learning center and pursue this grant.”

The Board gave unanimous approval to begin the process of securing the grants and moving toward the construction of the facility, which would be located to the right of the current greenhouses at the high school.

The Agricultural Enhancement Program grant would provide $150,000, while an additional rural development grant would generate a minimum of $50,000 toward the project, Nichols said.

“This is going to be a great opportunity not only for students, but for the whole agricultural industry in Cannon County. It’s a great opportunity for everyone,” Nichols said. “This is going to bring Cannon County to the forefront and not only as a learning center for the students but for agriculture producers in Cannon County.”

Cannon County schools officials will work with State Rep. Stratton Bone to secure grants to build the learning center, which will be a multipurpose facility dedicated to serving area youth and adult agricultural education program. Plans are for an 80’ X 200’ covered, open-sided structure with an adjoining meeting room and restrooms. It will also serve as a livestock demonstration and exhibition center.

“We have actually been working on this since April,” Melton said. “The idea surfaced at our ham breakfast for the FFA Alumni. Rep. Bone was there and he talked about the things we needed. He then brought (State Agriculture Commissioner) Ken Givens to the school and showed him the land and what we have. From there the work continued and we are now at this point. It’s very exciting and it’s going to help impact a lot of people here.”

When completed the Ag Learning Center, which can only be used for agricultural-based events, will be one of just two in middle Tennessee and just the eighth constructed state-wide through the TAEP. The only other such facility in middle Tennessee is the Trousdale Ag Pavilion.

Bone said Cannon County, as a whole, will benefit from this project.

“This agricultural center will not only be a resource for (Cannon County) high school, but for all the folks in Cannon County,” Bone said. “Our agricultural traditions can be passed on to a new generation of farmers.”

The facility will be available to 4-H, FFA, UT Extension and the agricultural community at-large.

In other business, the Board unanimously passed CCHS Principal Tim Knox’s proposed rule changes to the CCHS Handbook for the 2010-11 academic year.

The following changes were made:

Dress Code Change – The old rule states in regards to skirts/dresses/shorts: “no higher than three inches above the knees.” The change reads, “Skirts/dresses/shorts must not come higher than three inches above the knee. This regulation still applies if the student is wearing leggings, tights, etc., underneath the garment.”

Other changes include, students must leave the school building by 3 p.m. unless under the direct supervision of a staff member; and in regard to school property, students who destroy, deface, or damage, property belonging to the school or staff will make full restitution and or face further disciplinary action including suspension and court citation.

The Board also discussed a maintenance fee for use of the football field at Cannon County High School; however, the issue was deferred until August.
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