Eastland Career Center celebrates 40th anniversary

On April 22, Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools celebrated its 40th anniversary, dedicated its recently completed auto academy and the renovated computer-aided design drafting lab, and inducted alumni into its hall of fame.

 Messenger photos by Linda Dillman

Adam Graham, a senior from Lancaster, demonstrates one of many new pieces of equipment in a new Auto Technology complex on the Eastland Career Center campus to school board members and administrators during a tour of the building on April 16.

Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools’ board members and administrators tour the district’s latest addition, a new, state-of-the-art Auto Technology building, including two pristine automotive paint booths.

During an April 16 Eastland-Fairfield school board meeting, representatives and administrators toured the facility, which incorporates auto collision and repair with auto technology under one, state-of-the-art roof.

"This is what you’ve been hearing about for the last year," said Sue Kilbarger, Eastland Career Center assistant director. "It’s truly a wonderful place."

Brad Speakman, auto collision repair technology instructor, thanked the board for their support and said he truly felt the complex is the best facility of its kind in the state.

"We talked about it for years and Dr. (Mark) Weedy made it happen," said Speakman, as he guided people through his side of the building, which includes repair stations and paint booths. "For years I wanted to have the capability of mixing our own paint. It’s something a lot of shops are doing now."

A $20,000 mixing system donated by PPG afforded the instructor, who was also a career center student, to bring his dream to fruition.

In-ground hydraulic lifts no longer have poles obstructing the view of students as they pursue a career in auto technology. One push of a button gently brings an auto to a height allowing easy access to the car’s underside. Classrooms are equipped with interactive white boards and surround sound and the building is completely wireless. Each student will have a laptop computer.

"The technology alone in each of the classrooms is tremendous," observed Aaron Edwards, auto technology instructor.

Fellow teacher Danny Trippier said students can work independently on computers and on simulator assignments and have the ability to take work from their computer and make adjustments on the auto simulator.

A specially-designed overhead exhaust system vents fumes outdoors, an automated alignment rack is equipped with air locks and a laser to help digitally align a car’s suspension, and new spin balancing technology puts actual road pressure on a tire and matches it with a rim to a tire for greater balance and less wear and tear. Most of the cars students work on are donated or owned by students or teachers.

Thirteen security cameras keep a 24-hour watchful eye on the interior and exterior of the building and a reception desk awaits the day when the facility operates as a full-scale service center for staff and the public. Wattage savers incorporated into the academy’s lighting system detect motion and sound in many of the rooms within the building and are remotely set by a company in California.

"It’s such a joy to be here," continued Trippier. "It’s one of the nicest places to work. It’s one of the best in the state and better than many colleges."  

Hall of fame inductees

Every five years, alumni are selected to join the hall of fame. Nominations were submitted this fall, and 11 alumni were selected for this honor based on their positive involvement as an Eastland-Fairfield high school or adult student, success in their chosen career, and positive involvement in their community. The 2008 inductees are:

•T.J. Baggett (1997) carpentry, Hamilton Township High School;

•Robert Durkin (1982) auto technology, Canal Winchester High School;

•Josh Groce (1996) carpentry, Fairfield Union High School;

•Abby Hammock (2001) Medical Assisting adult program

•Christina Knightstep (1984) cosmetology, Hamilton Township High School;

•Steve Levin (1977) auto technology, Bexley High School;  

•Dennis Nicodemus (1976) electricity, Reynoldsburg High School;

•Christopher Prater (1989) welding, Gahanna Lincoln High School;

•Edward Rutherford (1987) law enforcement, Reynoldsburg High School;

•Ginny Spires (1991) medical assisting adult program;

•Mark Waishnora (1997) restaurant services, Groveport Madison High School.

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