Since the middle of September, four Shawnee High School students and members of Future Farmers of America have been utilizing the school's new Small Animal Barn.
According to Agriculture Education Instructor Dr. Brett Scott, the barn is an old automobile detail shop Shawnee Public Schools donated to Shawnee FFA and through grants, donations from the community and booster club funding, the organization was able to create a storage facility for animals.
"It's purpose and function for the kids is housing currently right now for pigs, but we have the ability to house pigs, sheep and goats," Scott said. "It is really to enrich the students' opportunities that live in town and don't have places to keep pigs at their home."
The educator explained the Small Animal Barn makes it easier for students to house and care for animals they show at fairs and competitions.
"It gives them a place to further enhance their agriculture educational classroom experience by showing animals and participating in livestock shows," Scott said.
Currently the Small Animal Barn is housing eight pigs and is being used by four students, but Scott said other students have shown interest in using the barn and next school year there may be sheep and goats.
"Currently right now we can house about 15 animals as it is set up. The way we set it up we have the opportunity to put in 10 to 12 stalling facilities," Scott said.
For Scott, it is amazing to see how much the Small Animal Barn benefits students and he's grateful to the community, district and all who helped make the barn possible.
"It's such an amazing opportunity with us being so urban in our population of students that do it here ," Scott said. "It has fulfilled a wish for a lot of kids that otherwise couldn't have it without this barn. I'm very proud of it."