Nearly 30 students in the Milton Area School District will have an opportunity to break free from their computer keyboards, cameras and microphones this spring for a hands-on learning experience that will be everything other than remote.

The students, enrolled in the district’s career-technology education programs, will help transform a residential property adjacent to the high school campus into the new district office for the Milton Area School District.

School board members purchased the property and building at 668 Mahoning St. for $250,000 in October. In a partnership with T-Ross Brothers Construction Inc., of Montandon, the high school students will help design and renovate the building over the remainder of this school year. Work is expected to begin this month and be finished before graduation this spring.

“It’s real-life experience,” said Milton Area School District Superintendent Cathy Keegan. “It’s the essence of career readiness.”

Students from the drafting, construction trade and agriculture programs will be involved from start to finish in the renovations, which will include the construction of district offices and a permanent meeting room for the school board.

Drafting students will draw up plans, construction trade students will be involved in the renovations and agriculture students will focus on the landscaping.

The project lends itself to “authentic learning experiences,” said Milton High School Principal Andrew Rantz. “It’s a different animal when you’re taking on a real project. It will be a point of pride for the district and a showcase for the program.”

We are sure that there are several area residents who still take pride in similar construction projects they completed in high school. In the late 1980s, students studying at the SUN Area Technical Institute in New Berlin built the Selinsgrove area district justice office and courtroom that operates today along Route 522, just west of Selinsgrove, directly across from the Selinsgrove Center grounds.

Giving students opportunities for these real-life, skill-building career experiences was an excellent decision more than 30 years ago, and it remains one today.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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