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District Five’s Center for Advanced Technical Studies Continues to Set the Standard

CHAPIN, SC – When the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) opened up in District Five in August of 2012 not even its Director Dr. Bob Couch would have envisioned the success it has had so far. Since opening, The Center has had visitors from approximately 60 school districts across the United States including some from the states of Washington, Texas and Pennsylvania. Three Chinese delegations have also come and taken tours of the facility since its opening.

Like most of their tours, The Center continues to draw educators from across the nation and even the world to view their increasingly growing programs and continued success from their students. The Center’s most recent visitors were from Brunswick County Schools in Bolivia, North Carolina.

Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Les Tubb wanted to explore The Center’s various programs and learn how the facility operated. “We wanted to visit ‘high tech’ places and get some ideas for various programs we might want and to see how those programs operate,” said Tubb. “The Center in particular has a lot of open ended courses where students can build on the skills they learn once they leave the program. We are definitely going to take what we learned today and use The Center as a foundation for our future programs.”

During the tour staff and students showcased the work they are doing at The Center. Biomedical Science students shared their research projects ranging from wheelchair trays to skin like textures to help calm dogs, while Fire and Rescue students shared how The Center has given them a head start to their future career.

The Center recently had two solar panels funded by Santee Cooper and Mid Carolina Electric in addition to a donation by Pitsco Education. According to Patrick Smallwood, the Clean Energy Technology teacher, “Students in the Clean Energy Technology program will have the opportunity to see the real world application of what they have learned about in class and compare the power produced by the two solar panels. Students are even able to go as far as to calculate utility cost savings for The Center by using the two panels.” Final touches are being completed on a new livestock barn at The Center. The barn will serve both the Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering Technology students as well as the Veterinary Science Technology students and provide real world hands-on experience working with animals. Couch anticipates that the barn will be completed by mid-march of this year.

Couch says all of the programs at The Center continue to impress him and that the students have a drive he has never seen before. He said, “The students at The Center amaze me in their willingness to assume the responsibility of their learning, their behavior and their willingness to own the results of capstone projects. The students are able to compete among the best in the state, the nation and in world competitions that enables them to graduate college and career ready.”

The Center’s current programs of study include: Aerospace Engineering, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering Technology, Automotive Service and Maintenance Technology, Biomedical Sciences and Nanotechnology, Building Construction and Integrated Technology, Clean Energy and Engineering Systems, Culinary Arts, Digital Art and Design, Electrical Design and Integrated Systems, Environmental and Natural Resource Management, Fire and Rescue Services, Law Enforcement, Machine Tool Technology and Engineering Design, Mechatronics Systems Technology, Media Technology and Visual Arts, Networking and Cyber Security Technology, Veterinary Science Technology and Welding Technology.

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