A new automotive shop slated for construction at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School is expected to help expand the program at the school next fall and further down the road.

Jason Miller was keeping 13 students in his second-period class busy with hands-on projects April 24 inside and outside the current shop.

One project vehicle, an older Datsun pickup, was handled indoors while students looked under the hood of three other vehicles outside the shop.

The indoor space is shared with the metal shop class taught by Adam Ineck.

“He’s been great to work with,” Miller said.

Miller said the new shop, which will be built 10 feet to the west of the current space, will measure 40-by-60 feet with three garage doors.

“We want everyone turning a wrench,” he said, adding the new building will allow all the students to keep busy with projects.

The new structure comes from Measure 98 funds that Grant School District 3 budgeted for last year, which are designed to revitalize Career Technical Education programs.

Miller said funding CTE programs gives more students reasons to stay in school and teaches them skills that could turn into possible career paths.

He said they have the engineering plans, and $80,000 will pay for the foundation and building shell.

Construction is scheduled to begin this month and expected to be completed this summer.

There are 23 students, including two girls, in Miller’s two automotive classes.

He plans to offer three classes next year with beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.

Miller also aims to have students become ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified in areas such as changing oil.

When that happens, he hopes to have students offer some oil change services with the money earned supporting the automotive shop.

Luke Claughton, a junior, was working on the carburetor of the Datsun on April 17.

“I think it’s going to be really cool,” he said of the future shop. “We’ll have more space to work in, and we’ll have opportunities to work on more projects.”

Cinch Anderson, a junior, said he’s enjoyed applying the skills he’s learned in class.

He said he “tore apart” half the engine on his ‘06 Ford F350 to work on the emissions gas recirculation (EGR) system.

He said he’s looking forward to the new bigger building.

“We’ll have more room to have more rigs, because right now you can only have so many in here at once,” he said.

The class recently repaired a pickup that had damage to a corner of the cab when a gooseneck trailer smashed into it.

Miller said the students repaired the damage, and then an auto body mechanic in John Day painted it. The students then installed a new side window.

Miller said he’d like to eventually have the equipment for students to paint vehicles at the school.

They also hope to save money and buy a project car — a classic, ‘60s hot rod or four-wheel drive pickup — to restore.

“We want to go from start to finish on a vehicle,” Miller said. “That’s the goal.”

Angel Carpenter is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. She can be contacted at angel@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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