Hannibal Innovation Campus to provide students and community with hands-on education

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Carter Cox talks to the Hannibal School Board about Carpentry Class Photo by Megan Duncan


HANNIBAL, Mo. — Carter Cox, senior at Hannibal High School, stood before the Hannibal Public School Board Wednesday night to talk about his experience in carpentry class.

Cox learned about roofing, electrical work, building projects, and more in the class taught by Chad Kistler at the Hannibal Career and Technical Center. 

In carpentry, students tackle real-life projects in the classroom, learning basic tools and how to use them safely.

“I think this class is useful for everyone because you get a chance to learn mamu certain household repairs,” Cox said.

The carpentry classes have also completed projects around the district that have saved the school money. This includes new bathrooms in the carpentry building, mailboxes at the board office, and one of their bigger projects was building the greenhouse in front of the middle school which is used by students for various projects including raising produce to sell to the public.

Brent Meyer also spoke to the board members explaining that HCTC is continuing to welcome new students and the classrooms are at full capacity, which means they currently cannot add more classes or programs.

Susan Johnson, Superintendent of the Hannibal Public School District, later spoke about the solution to that problem, which will be called the Hannibal Innovation Campus.

The project has been in the planning stages for several years but progress stopped when the pandemic began, but recently gained ground with help from State Rep. Louis Riggs and Congressman Sam Graves to gain $1.9 million in funding for the project.

The possible site for the Hannibal Innovation Campus is the former Sutherland’s Building, which is across U.S. 61 from Hannibal High School at 4417 McMaster’s Ave.

The 88,000-square-foot building will house classrooms and allow students to work with local colleges including John Wood Community College, Hannibal LaGrange University, Moberly Area Community College and Culver Stockton. The facility would also be used for adult education classes.

Johnson said if all goes well, the purchase of the building could close as early as March 31.

She said real estate agreements are now being ironed out between representatives from Sutherlands and Aldi, and attorneys from Sutherlands and the school district are looking at the proposals before a decision is made.

Johnson said the March closing date looks very positive.

“The only reason why that wouldn’t happen would be if there are still contractual things that still need to be discussed and worked on, but I’m feeling that it’s looking very positive,” Johnson said. “More so than I’ve ever been able to say.”

Hannibal school board member Blane Mundle said the Innovation Center has been a vision for the Hannibal Public School District for a long time, but they never had a location.

“I am so happy to see it come to fruition and it will be a wonderful thing for the Northeast Missouri,” Mundle said.

Two other students from HCTC spoke to the board members Wednesday night.

Also speaking at the board meeting was Hannah Otten, senior at Hannibal High School, who is a part of the Teaching Professions class, and Coleman Epperson, senior from Mark Twain High School, who spoke about the EMT class.

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