FARMINGTON – Last week, RSU 9 broke ground on the new Bjorn Center for Career and Technical Education at the Mt. Blue Middle School.
Funded through donations from Mr. Dick Bjorn and the Bjorn Foundation, the new tech center will be located behind Mt. Blue Middle School in Farmington. The center will provide opportunities for early exploration of technical and career skills and promote hands-on education for middle school students. Working in collaboration with the Foster Tech Center at Mt. Blue High School, this will support students in practical and technical skills at a younger age.
For some students, a college degree is an appropriate step after high school. Others may enter the workforce directly after graduation. But regardless of the path students choose after graduation, a hands-on approach to education may prove beneficial. By integrating academic skills with practical and technical skills, students may have better learning experiences and outcomes, and may be better prepared to enter the workforce.
The Foster Tech Center hosts high school students across Franklin County, with students attending from Mt. Abram High School, Spruce Mountain High School, Mt. Blue High School, and Rangeley Lakes Regional School. The Bjorn Center will support middle school students in RSU 9, the largest school district in the county.
The Bjorn Center is one of two projects in Maine that focus on building a tech education center specifically for middle school students, Superintendent Christian Elkington said.
RSU 9 School Board Chair Carol Coles thanked Bjorn and the Foundation for the generous donations that will make this project possible.
Mike and Robyn Sealander with Sealander Architects, who designed the new building, attended the ground breaking event. Mike shared that he and Robyn have shared interests in education and they were honored to be involved in the project.
Blaine Casey, who won the bid for construction, also attended the event, along with RSU 9 administrators and stakeholders.
“I feel we need to find other ways to get kids interested in jobs,” Bjorn said. “I have wanted this to get going and it finally is.”
Construction will start in the next few weeks.