CAVALIER, N.D. — The community of Cavalier has pledged $1.6 million toward a project that backers hope will establish a satellite location of the North Valley Career and Technology Center, based in Grafton, at Cavalier Public Schools.
If it’s built, the project will add four new classrooms and a greenhouse to the school, and be a location where students from Cavalier Public Schools and nearby school districts can have hands-on learning experiences in technical fields.
In a span of two weeks, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Fundraising Committee surpassed its goal of securing $1,305,500 in pledges toward the project. Including the contribution from Cavalier Public Schools, the total money pledged toward the project is more than $2 million.
The fundraising committee was made up of Cavalier Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Manley, School Board member Lizzie Crowston, School Board and City Council member Tom Beard and Cavalier Mayor Lacey Hinkle.
As the fundraising deadline approached on Dec. 22, pledges were coming in quickly.
“As a committee, we have been overwhelmed by the interest in helping workforce development and we’re just so happy we get the opportunity to bring this forward,” said Crowston.
The opportunity to build a North Valley satellite location at Cavalier Public Schools is made possible by a North Dakota state grant called the Career and Technical Education Capital Projects Grant. The goal of the grant is to increase access to career and technology education across the state. Applications are due Dec. 31.
The grant is funded by the Federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund and Federal State Fiscal Recovery Fund. Between the two funding sources, the state has $88 million available for grants ranging from $500,000 to $10,000,000. Grant awards must be matched 1:1 from sources like private contributions, school funds or Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (known as ESSER) allocations. To be awarded a grant, plans must be shovel-ready with funding secured.
The project in Cavalier is part of a region-wide effort by the North Valley Career and Technology Center to expand CTE across northeastern North Dakota. The larger project includes an expansion of the current facility in Grafton, a new facility in Minto and a greenhouse renovation in Park River. The North Valley Career and Technology Center will put together the grant application as a package for all of the locations that are a part of the expansion.
The Cavalier portion of the project is estimated to cost $2,611,000. The addition of a satellite location would add four classrooms specifically for health and medical science, agriculture, business education and information technology. The district already has business and information technology programs, so the addition of a satellite location would expand those programs, while making space for agriculture and health and medical science programs.
Crowston says the addition would bring opportunities for hands-on learning to students.
“It’s really important for our choice-ready element to enable the students for different pathways, both while they’re in K-12 education, as well as community and adult ed,” said Crowston.
She thinks the collaboration between school and city officials helped fundraising efforts.
“There’s a real partnership here and a drive to move forward. It’s not just one entity asking and I think that’s been really helpful,” said Crowston.
Hinkle said pledges were coming from businesses and individuals, and that community members see value in workforce retention and development.
“We’ve done some studies lately that have shown that there are over 500 jobs that are available within the next year or two, and up to 1,700 that will be available in the next five to seven years — not just in our community alone, but in the whole region,” said Hinkle. “It’s important to our business community to retain that workforce and have people here to fill those jobs.”
After grant applications are submitted by Dec. 31, a grant review team will evaluate applications and provide recommendations to the North Dakota State Board for Career and Technical Education. Applications will be approved by March 31.