After months of work on plumbing, lighting, constructing and painting, the medical center created inside a shipping container by students at the is ready to be shipped off to Uganda.
The project was done through the home improvement class, and in connection with Homes of Living Hope, which converts recycled shipping containers into livable and functional structures for needy communities.
"This is a better way of instruction," said Leonard Herman, supervisor for business and industrial technology at the high school. "The bonus is it helps someone."
These containers are turned into clinics, shelters and educational facilities, then put together into quads once they are sent over to Uganda.
In the program's first year at the high school, the about 100 students involved created a medical center, and Herman said they are hoping to move to creating one, or even two, containers to send to Uganda each year.
And with the first project complete, it will be collected by Atlantic Container Line, which donated the container, Friday, and prepared for shipment to Uganda.
Last weekend, students and staff spent about four hours packing medical materials securely into the container, along with books, gardening tools, bicycles and other sporting goods.
"These are things to change their lives," Herman said of the wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, toys and other materials to be shipped to Uganda inside the center.
All of the materials being sent, Herman said, were donated by members of the community and businesses, including the and several girl scout troops.
"No school district funds were spent on this project, aside from what is always given to the program," he said.
And with one center complete, Herman said, they are looking toward next year's project.
Herman said Atlantic Container Line has already agreed to donate another container, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals, which gave money toward the project this past year, has agreed to donate again.
This coming year, Herman said, they are going to put together a birthing center, with supplies already donated by a local doctor.
"A birthing center is what they need now," he said. "So many children die in Uganda in the birthing process."
Herman said they are hoping to create a nursery and recovery area in the container, plus windows with screens to keep the mosquitos away from the newborns.
"This way they have a better chance of survival," he said.
The extent of what they create will depend on the donations, Herman said, and they are hoping to see support similar to what they had this year, with local businesses and families donating items, and other members of the school district donating time to design a mural and help put everything together.
Meanwhile, the new students coming into the home improvement classes will take on the building of the center itself, complete with plumbing, electricity and all other needs.
"We are looking to do solar panels in the future, and be totally self-contained," Herman said. "I think the kids coming in are excited, and there will be all brand new kids because there is only one level of this class."
And the extent of the work done will depend on the assistance from others.
"It all depends on our resources," Herman said. "It's amazing, and as soon as people hear about the project, they want to get involved."
For more information, visit the program's website through the high school.