New barns gives FFA students a boost


Camille Blair

The new barns at the North Ag facility help make raising animals easier for FFA students.

Camille Blair, Staff Writer

The new district North Ag facility was officially open for all species in September. The old ag barns were built in the ‘90s and had housed animals raised by Kingwood Park students since the school first opened. Students faced many problems because of the age of the barns, but the biggest challenge was the flooding.

Other challenges they faced were security issues. Homeless people would stop by the barns in the past and gates were not always locked properly by the students.

“We had to rely on everybody to lock the gate which oftentimes didn’t happen,” ag teacher Kevin McCarty said. “We had vehicles that had been broken into, stranger dangers and one time we even had some animals being messed with.”

With the new barns, most of the problems were resolved. In addition, the new barns added improvements like better ventilation, insulated roofs, big fans to make the barns cooler and better pen design. The barns can be closed to protect the animals in bad weather now too.

However, as great as the new barns are, they still have some complications, the main ones being drainage and creating a new flow.

“There’s some improvements we want to make but it’s just going to take us a few years to get there,” McCarty said. “We’re trying to work out the immediate bugs right now. Once we get those taken care of we can start moving to other things such as fencing in some pastures where steers can be turned out, and lambs and goats can be turned out.”

Senior Kenzie Terrell, the president of FFA, has been involved in the program for four years. She likes how the new barns have bathrooms now and the big fans, which will make the barns cooler and limit the need to hang your own fan.

“I hope I can work harder and more efficiently now that we have a new facility,” Terrell said.

The security issues have lessened as well. Even though concerns were raised because of a halfway house nearby, the district took measures to make sure the facilities were secure regardless of anyone who might wander nearby.

“The district has been really good about responding,” McCarty said. “They put up a solid wall between us and them, they’ve increased the cameras, and put up blue phones that will call district police.”