Lenape Regional High School District voters approved a bond referendum in November that paved the way for a variety of district-wide upgrades at all four high schools: Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee and Seneca.
Some of the referendum upgrades are not expected to be complete until the 2024-’25 school year, but one of the biggest benefits of the approved vote that students can experience this fall is the large-scale revamping of the automotive courses and program at Seneca.
Expansion has begun, just in time: According to school officials, the automotive program — which has been offered since the doors opened at Seneca High School — has seen significant growth in recent years that will require bolstering the district’s offerings and availability.
“During the most recent district strategic planning sessions, it was noted that community members, parents and students were interested in growing the trade programs, which would result in an increase in employability directly following graduation of high school and beyond,” said Sean Cassel, assistant principal at Seneca.
“There is an urgent need in the automotive workforce that exists currently,” he added. “We are hopeful that job opportunities for our students will arise from their automotive program preparation at Seneca as well as partnerships with local businesses.”
On top of renovations to the inside of the automotive program space, a carport will be constructed outside of Seneca during the school year, according to Director of Building and Grounds Tony Voiro. The carport was recently approved by the Tabernacle Township Land Development Board and will allow for more space on school grounds to prep vehicles.
“Students in the ASE Automotive Program and students in our automotive classes will be able to use the carport as an extended classroom workspace to detail and prep vehicles prior to working on them or after working on them,” Cassel explained.
The ASE Automotive Program had its first cohort of students last school year, according to Cassel, and that group is expected to nearly double in the new year. With it will be an increase in materials, space and offerings that will benefit future students. Both students in the Lenape district and out can take part in the program.
“Any student attending any of the Lenape Regional High School District schools are able to apply for the automotive program at Seneca,” Cassel said. “In addition, students outside the (district) are able to apply for the program paying tuition to become a full time student.”
Interested students and parents can contact Cassel at Seneca to discuss the application process. A detailed list of improvements and renovations in the district is available on the district website.