While the new agriscience facility at the Milford High School is nearing its completion, a few technical issues are halting its use as an educational facility for students studying agriculture science.
Construction on the 40-foot-by-120-foot pole barn began in March and the district was hoping the barn would be open for student use by the end of this month.
With more than 500 students in grades 8 through 12 participating in the Milford School District’s FFA program, making it this year’s largest chapter in the state, having an on-campus agriculture facility will allow students easy access to work with animals like sheep, goats and other livestock.
FFA students preparing to compete in the Delaware State Fair had to travel to Canterbury Road to work with their animals, which were housed at a farm owned by the parents of animal science teacher Judith Bruns.
Milford School District’s Supervisor of Building and Grounds Glen Stevenson said the district is currently awaiting approval from the fire marshal to obtain a certificate of occupancy so that students can begin classes in the new building.
As the district awaits approval, there is no way to determine when classes will be able to utilize the facility, Stevenson said.
“It’s hard to put any kind of timeline on it at this point,” Stevenson said. “If a certificate of occupancy is granted, SimplexGrinnell will immediately begin installing the fire system, which is currently being reviewed, as well as constructing a room for a fire pump, if the fire marshal deems it necessary, Stevenson said.
“We’re just waiting for hopeful approval,” he said.
If the building is approved for occupancy, a few minor improvements are still planned, including the installation of a male and female restroom, signage on the building and other minor touches, Stevenson said.
While student occupancy may shortly follow occupancy approval, the district is also awaiting the city’s Board of Adjustments decision on a variance to city code that prohibits livestock within city limits.
City Manager Richard Carmean expects the variance to be passed without any hitches, but a decision will not be made until Oct. 24.
“There’s a prohibition against keeping or slaughtering animals, but in this case, the whole thing is not for profit, not for a pet, not for friendship, and they’re certainly not slaughtering anything,” he said.