The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Finn Bankston, Staff Writer • April 18, 2024

Automotive Technology to leave Norrix in 2025 school year

Students+in+Richard+Sackettts+CTE+class+diagnosing+a+problem+within+the+engine+of+one+of+the+cars+in+the+shop.+This+is+one+of+the+many+shop+vehicles+that+the+course+uses+to+teach+students+the+skills+needed+to+repair+vehicles.
Students in Richard Sackettt’s CTE class diagnosing a problem within the engine of one of the cars in the shop. This is one of the many shop vehicles that the course uses to teach students the skills needed to repair vehicles.

As you enter the room, you see various cars, all of them different makes and models. Some are suspended in the air by large mechanical pulleys, and others are bound to the earth. The unmistakable smell of exhaust, gasoline and various lubricants mix together in the air to form a unique profile unlike any other classroom. This isn’t any ordinary classroom, this is the automotive technology class.

The automotive technology program is split into two classes. The first is the intro class, which is available to all grade levels. The second is the year-long Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, which is only available to upperclassmen and is a part of Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA). 

The introduction class focuses primarily on basic vehicle repairs and maintenance, while the CTE class has more complex repairs as well as deeper explanation of how things work within the car. Such as their deepdive into the components of the engine, repairing breaks and fixing ABS.  Despite the differences in the courses, both are taught by KRESA employee Richie Sackett.

“I worked as a pro mechanic in the field for about eight years. Then I worked at WMU at the engineering campus for another seven years. Then I’ve been teaching for about three years,” said Sackett.

Sackett is very passionate about the automotive industry and its future. He hopes to see the younger generations adopt the trade and keep it alive.

“The class has become more popular, but I think the overall number of people interested in hands-on trade may not be as popular as it once was,” said Sackett. “A lot of people aren’t doing things themselves anymore. They pay someone else to do it because it’s gotten too advanced.” 

With more technology being added to the automotive industry more people cannot repair their car themselves. For instance, newer cars contain proprietary technology within windshields and windows that prevent the average person from repairing their own vehicle. Also, many problems with a car require tools that are either expensive or hard to get for non commercial mechanics, such as the scan tool which is used to diagnose issues in the car. 

Although the Auto Technology class has called Loy Norrix home for many years, this will soon be coming to an end.

 According to KRESA, there will be a brand new Career Center built to host various CTE programs, including the automotive technology CTE. The center will be located along the I-94 and Sprinkle Road corridor, next to Wings Stadium.

“[The Career Center] is scheduled to open 2025,” said Sackett. “I don’t know what will happen to the intro class, but I will be moving along with the year-long course,” said Sackett. “I actually like being here. I like being in the basement by myself and away from the other things that go on, but a new facility will have new equipment, so overall, it will be better for the students.”

As KRESA builds their new facility, students here will have to say goodbye to the beloved automotive technology course. Although it may be the end of an era, there’s lots to look forward to for students entering into the automotive industry here in Kalamazoo. 

 

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