Temple High School automotive program

The Temple High School Automotive Tech program has moved into a larger, renovated facility to aid students as they learn.

Courtesy photo

Temple High School’s CTE Automotive Technology program has gotten a tune-up with its revamped facility — and seniors are ecstatic about the new expanded space.

“It’s been a process but we’re finally in the new area,” senior Ryan Ross said. “We don’t have all the equipment we need up and ready just yet, but we have a lot more stuff and space to work with than we did previously.”

The program’s new space is just less than 20,000 square feet — about double the size of the 9,000 square feet students previously worked with — and features four two-post lifts, and a new four-post lift allowing students to perform alignments.

The 17-year-old, who loves the fifth generation of the Ford Mustang, is particularly excited for the new paint booth the program is receiving this year.

“(Joshua) Koontz is going to be the specific instructor for teaching paint and body … and I’m really interested in doing that,” Ross said.

Although the specifically designed paint booth itself has should arrive in the coming weeks, the relating pathway of courses will begin in the following academic year.

However, students will still be introduced to the paint booth later this year.

Ross has experience working on his own vehicle at school, but the CTE Automotive Technology program has allowed senior-level students the opportunity to shadow and work with trained professionals at local dealerships.

Eleven students are participating in this practicum course at this time, and are divided evenly amongst the partnering dealerships.

“We have a defined schedule … so the students that start at Johnson Brothers Ford will do several weeks at Johnson Brothers Ford and then they’ll rotate to Chevrolet and then they’ll rotate to Don Ringler Toyota,” CTE director Denise Ayres said.

Ayres emphasized how much the partnering dealerships enjoy having Temple High School students at their facilities.

“They really welcome them in as if they’re their employees and the students act like that, too,” Ayres said. “When they’re on site they work like they’re an employee as they should. It’s what we train them to do.”

Students have benefited from the expertise these trained professionals can provide.

“They can tell you pretty easily what’s better and what you should look for … and honestly how to get stuff done more efficiently,” Ross said.

This expertise will help students when the program opens its doors to the public for servicing in the spring; it is currently working on a pricing model.

“One of our instructors has had his own company on the side, so he’s very familiar with how to price things,” Ayres said. “We’ll price things so that it certainly covers the cost of materials, but so it’s not as expensive as if you were to go to a professional shop.”

The district provides the opportunity to test for industry certifications, so students are able to earn their Automotive Service Excellence certifications.

“The students take a pretest and if they make a 75 or higher on the pretest, then we as a district, will fund the cost of the certification itself … so students have the opportunity to graduate high school with an industry certification,” Ayres said.

Attaining these certification positions students for employment post-graduation even better, Ayres said.