The news site of Chanute High School

The Comet

The news site of Chanute High School

The Comet

The news site of Chanute High School

The Comet

CHS Ag program seeks donors for $1.4 million expansion


By Eric Erbe, revised by Eric Erbe and Kai Woods


An expansion of the animal science program for Chanute High School is in the works after local landowners donated a portion of land near the school’s agricultural workshop last fall.


Ag teacher Zachary Callaghan says plans for the property include the construction of new facilities such as animal pens, classrooms, a larger greenhouse, and an expansion of the welding shop. The new construction is estimated to cost $1.4 million with $400,000 already being raised.


“That sounds like a lot of money, but that makes sure this building is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)  accessible, and meets all city and state codes,” Callaghan said.


Callaghan expects the expanded program to be introduced into the curriculum by the year 2025.


“It’s all dependent on when we get donations, but ideally, we’d be done fundraising this coming fall and we could start construction hopefully in the spring and have it ready by the fall of 2025,” Callaghan said. “Again, that’s all dependent on how much money we bring in.”


Callaghan believes the program will be beneficial for students going into animal science and the medical field.


“We’ve been growing tremendously in the last few years,” Callaghan said. “We had so many students in the Ag program that they had to add a second position this year, so I think it would be really good…for students interested in not only animal science careers, but also people going into medicine.”


The land was donated by Jim and Desiree Kepley to the Chanute High School Future Farmers of America program. 


Callaghan noted the land will allow for a great expansion to the school’s current facilities and help with hands-on learning.


“Our mechanics and shop side have a small engines lab and welding lab that they can do hands-on learning in, and our plant science students have the greenhouse and lettuce farm they get to work in,” Callaghan said. “But our animal science students do not have somewhere to do  hands-on learning. This facility would help address that issue.”


Students in the animal science program are excited for the expansion, believing it will allow them to become more involved in the curriculum.


“I’m excited…to see the organization grow,” sophomore Kiley Dillow said. “I think it’ll help a lot not only grow our vet science and our animal science pathway, but also for FFA, because it’ll allow more students to get involved in learning and production.”


Those graduating before the implementation of the expanded program are excited for the future of FFA, despite likely not being around to see completion of the project.


“I wish I was still going to school when it was finished, but I think it will be a really good opportunity for the animal science program,” junior Rahley Holcom said.


Anyone interested in donating should reach out to Callaghan or contact Chanute High School.