Hannibal School District expansions continue moving forward

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The Hannibal Ag-Science Center will bring a commercial kitchen to the Hannibal Public School District. Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The new construction in front of the Hannibal Middle School is expected to one day provide cost savings and funds for district programs.

Work began in June on the 60’ x 80’ Hannibal Career and Technical Center expansion called the Hannibal Ag-Science Center which sits beside the green house.

The building is funded through a $250,000 matching grant the district received earlier this year from the Missouri Department of Education, as part of the passage of Missouri House Bill 3002. 

Susan Johnson, superintendent of the Hannibal Public School District, said the district recently got another grant to pay for the interior of the building.

The school will work with the Marion County Health Dept. to build a teaching and commercial kitchen.

The new kitchen will level up the current meat processing program already offered by the school district by allowing them to sell to the public or use the butchered meat in the cafeteria.

Johnson said the current kitchen used for the program is more of a household kitchen. The new kitchen will be easier for student observation and will also provide a classroom area. 

“We can teach them behind the scenes and in front of the scenes,” Johnson said. “We can teach them the butchering and packaging and then include our marketing and business classes to sell to the public.”

Johnson said the building will also house a commercial grade freezer and a bathroom.

The already established hydroponic systems, which provides a water-based nutrient system for greenhouse plants, and a salt water shrimp tank will also be located inside in the building.

Students are already receiving education as various HCTC classes participate in the construction of the building through construction and agriculture programs. The building is expected to open at the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year.

Students have also been working at what will be the Hannibal Innovation Campus.

The 88,000 square feet campus at 4417 McMasters Avenue, sits directly across US 61 from the Hannibal High School, and the building once housed Jack’s, then ShopKo, and then Sutherlands.

The school district announced its acquisition of the building in June and work started shortly after that to tame overgrown brush and pick up trash around the building.

The HCTC students have worked inside the building to deconstruct the Sutherlands kitchen showrooms and other materials.

Johnson said many of the items are being repurposed around the district, and what remains will be sold at sale they plan to hold at a sale inside of the Innovation Campus building. The date is to be announced.

The HCTC programs moving to the Innovation Campus include welding, machine and tool, automotive technology, cosmetology and an expansion of the health services and health sciences programs.

They also plan to introduce culinary arts, hospitality, and tourism programs. 

“The fact that we are located in Hannibal and so close to Mark Twain Lake, how could not introduce our students to the hospitality and tourist industries?” Johnson said.

Johnson said the school district will pair with area community colleges including Moberly Area Community and John Wood Community College, and other organizations to also expand adult education.

They are also working with MODOT to design a walkway that will allow students to safely cross over the busy McMasters Avenue to the Hannibal Innovation Campus. 

The space opened up at the current HCTC building will allow for more programs and possibilities, according to Johnson.

Johnson gave the building updates and discussed other school business last week at the first quarter Coffee with the Superintendent hosted by the Hannibal Public School District at the United Way of the Mark Twain Area. 

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