The Lake Area Vo-Tech Center (LAVTC) is a multi-district vocational high school that was part of the Devils Lake Public School System.
The Lake Area Vo-Tech Center (LAVTC) is a multi-district vocational high school that was part of the Devils Lake Public School System. It first opened in 1975, with a student enrollment of 425 students attending from six school districts representing public, private, and state institutions. Through the years, students from Churchs Ferry, Crary, Devils Lake Central, Devils Lake High School, North Dakota School for the Deaf, St. Mary’s, Warwick, Minnewaukan, and Oberon have attended LAVTC classes.
LAVTC was the first multi-district center to be established by a school district in North Dakota. The multi-district concept was one under which vocational education opportunities were made available to students of several school districts. Occupational training in the areas of Agriculture, Auto Mechanics, Building Trades, Child Care, Distributive Education, Drafting, Foods, Health, Office Education, Printing, Recreational Vehicle Mechanics, and Welding were included in the school’s curriculum as well as Counseling, Guidance, and Support Services for handicapped students.
The building was constructed at a cost of over one-million dollars, and contained 36,000 square feet of space. The building was financed through a special building construction mill levy by the Devils Lake School District. The building was located between Lake Region Junior College (LRSC) and the North Dakota School for the Deaf. This was to allow students easy access to a greater variety of training programs.
Initial equipment costs of approximately $250,000 were financed entirely by the State Board of Vocational Education. Annual operating costs were reimbursed by 50 percent by the State Board with the balance shared proportionately by the participating schools according to their size.
The Alternative High School was established in the fall of 1984 serving four-part time students. The program operates as a “school within a school” and provides a full range of required courses as well as numerous electives. Students graduate with a Devils Lake High School diploma and participate in graduation activities. Currently, there are 25 students in the program.
The Life Center Career Education Department was also housed in the building. This program area gives students with special needs a job placement in the community.
Students work with a job coach at local businesses to learn skills needed to be employed after high school. These students also run a business called DIFY (Do It For You). DIFY works on a variety of projects for the community and school. They make the buttons for the Devils Lake Volunteer Fire Department Fishing Tournament. They also work on mailings, volunteer at the Hope Center, and a wide variety of other projects that benefit the community.
In April 2003, the Devils Lake School Board approved the name change of the center to The Lake Area Career and Technology Center (LACTC). The mission of LACTC is to provide students with acess to discover and develop career and technical education opportunities. LACTC now offers 12 different program areas: Automotive Technology, Construction, Welding, Marketing, Health Careers, Business and Information Technology, Child and Family Service, Culinary Arts, Project Lead the Way, Career Development, and Special Populations. Devils Lake High School, Minnewaukan, and North Dakota School for the Deaf are currently its member schools. Maddock, Starkweather, and Munich are also schools that take advantage of counseling services and online/ITV classes.
Throughout the history of LACTC there have been 9 directors. The first director was Jim Hunt (1975-1992). Hunt was instrumental in the creation of the center and laid the ground work for how the center operates today.
The next director was ElRoy Burkle (1992-1995).
Dr. Doug Darling (1995-1998) was the third director of the center. He currently is the President of Lake Region State College.
Dr. Steve Swiontek (1998-2001) followed. He was the long time Superintendent of Devils Lake Public Schools retiring in 2012 and taking a position in Minnesota.
Steve Hyed followed for one year.
Dr. Denise (Wolf) Jonas (2002-2008) was the 6th director. Jonas is currently the CTE Director of the Fargo Public Schools, West Fargo Public Schools, and the Cass County CTE Consortium.
Jeanne O’Gorman (2008-2010) was a teacher at LACTC in the Information Technology Department, she then retired from teaching and came back as a part time Interim Director.
Dale Weegman (2010-2012) followed as a full time director before leaving for an administrator position in Minnesota. Currently, Christa Brodina is in her fourth year as director. Brodina was a Business-Marketing teacher/Secondary Principal at Adams-Edmore High School before coming to LACTC.
The Lake Area Career and Technology has benefited thousands of student’s lives over the last
40 years. They will be hosting an Open House on Wednesday, April 13, from 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. They will be serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Tours will be available throughout the day so the public can see first hand how this center has changed the lives of its students.