Advanced ag mechanic and master technician students from Lost River and Henley high schools teamed up this year to update the front entrance of Basin Fertilizer & Chemical Co., in Merrill.

When the business decided to redesign the entrance, co-owner Amie McAuliffe contacted Kate Lyman at Farmhouse Designs. Lyman offered the hands-on project to the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at Lost River and Henley high schools.

Today, Basin Fertilizer & Chemical Co. features a new metal, powder-coated sign that was installed away from the building’s wall, giving it a 3D effect. To the right of the entrance are three large planter boxes with designer metal screens.


“It turned out fantastic,” McAuliffe said last week after the final pieces were installed. “Employers need employees with these skills. These students will have experience in welding, fabrication, electrical and wood and metal work. Those skills are invaluable.

The project at Basin Fertilizer is just one example of how students in Klamath County School District CTE programs are using lessons in real world applications.

Meghan Miller, ag science teacher and FFA advisor at Lost River Junior/Senior High School, focuses her lessons on projects that can benefit the school and community. Students have built corrals, barn stalls, chicken coops, fences, and a ticket booth for the school. Lost River offers a four-year pathway program that incorporates skills needed in the trades, including electrical, plumbing, wood construction, welding and fabrication.

At Henley, projects have included the main gate for the Henley Complex, a 20-by-27-foot pole vault cover for the Henley track, and aluminum letters for the Chiloquin Fire Station.

For the Basin Fertilizer entrance project, four Henley students – Claire Hulbert, Coltin Smith, Coay Streed, and Roy Watterberg – manufactured a new sign using the school’s CNC plasma cutter. The students are in the school’s CTE master technician program that prepares them for trade careers.

The students said the sign design was challenging because it incorporated several layers of metal using bolts to give the piece depth. “We encourage the artistic nature of students so they think outside the box,” said Chris Aylett, Henley’s FFA advisor and ag mechanics teacher.

Lost River students took charge of the planter boxes and metal screens, which feature an intricate design that matches the business sign. Advanced ag mechanics students Karli Britton, Curtis Sweat, Logan Derry, Jacob Parks, and Wyatt Lacy teamed up to complete the work.

FFA group: Lost River and Henley teachers and students who participated in the project include (from left to right): Henley ag mechanics teacher and FFA advisor Chris Aylett, Roy Watterberg, Coay Streed, Curtis Sweat, Karli Britton, Coltin Smith, Claire Hulbert, and Lost River ag science teacher and FFA advisor Meghan Miller.

Henley FFA: Four Henley High School CTE master technician program students – Roy Watterberg, Coay Streed, Coltin Smith, and Claire Hulbert – manufactured a new metal sign for the entrance to Basin Fertilizer & Chemical Co. in Merrill.

Sign closeup: The sign incorporates has several levels of metal, giving it a 3D effect.

LR closeup: New planter boxes and metal screens liven up the entrance to Basin Fertilizer and Chemical Co.

Lost River FFA: Advanced ag mechanics students Karli Britton and Curtis Sweat, pictured with their teacher and FFA advisor Meghan Miller helped build and manufacture the new planters and metal screens. Other students who worked on the project, but who are not pictured, were Logan Derry, Jacob Parks, and Wyatt Lacy.