North Valley Career and Technology Center receives $4.8 million grant for expansion projects

With matching funds, the money will fully cover a $9.4 million expansion project at the school’s main location in Grafton, and three other projects at member school districts in Park River, Minto and Cavalier.

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A water tower in Grafton, N.D. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

GRAFTON, N.D. – The North Valley Career and Technology Center was awarded $4,752,290 in matching funds by the North Dakota State Board for Career and Technical Education for an expansion project at the school’s main location in Grafton, as well as three other projects at member school districts. With local contributions, the grant will fully fund the $9.4 million project.

Mike Hanson, director of the North Valley CTC, was at the meeting in Bismarck where grant recipients were announced. He described it as “stressful.”

“I was very confident in most of our project, but I was a little concerned they would cut out some spots in it, and those cuts would have been detrimental to our overall project,” he said. “I was very, very elated when I heard the news that we were fully funded.”

The state allocation will fund a 11,500-square-foot expansion of the North Valley CTC facility in Grafton, a greenhouse renovation in Park River, new career and tech education classrooms and a greenhouse in Minto and a new satellite location of North Valley CTC at Cavalier Public Schools, which will serve all of Pembina County.

On Jan. 10, NDDPI, and the North Dakota Governor’s Office, announced they partnered with Western Governors University and had awarded the ESSER dollars to a college outside of North Dakota.

The expansion at the main location in Grafton will create space for automated manufacturing, with machine tooling equipment, robotic welders and CNC mills and lathes.


“Manufacturing is a huge piece of northeastern North Dakota,” he said. “It's been something we’ve heard a lot from the industry, that they need a lot more help.”

Classrooms, equipment and labs for precision agriculture and food processing also will be part of the expansion.

The grant required a dollar-for-dollar local match, and the state would potentially match up to $10 million. In total, the North Valley CTC projects will cost $9.4 million, with half the cost covered by the $4.8 million in state allocations, and the remaining covered by district funds and donations from local businesses, community organizations and community members.

In Park River and Grafton, the local match comes primarily from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds, and in Minto, North Valley CTC general funds. In Cavalier, most of the local match was raised by a fundraising team. The school district’s goal was to raise $1,305,500, and in just two weeks of fundraising, $1.6 million was pledged toward the project.

“We really had this overwhelming response, and we put forth a good chunk from our school’s own reserve fund,” said Jeff Manley, superintendent at Cavalier Public Schools. “Anything over our goal is going to be directly invested into the project, equipment or supplies.”

The Cavalier satellite location portion of the project will make Cavalier Public Schools a member district of North Valley CTC. The state money and community contributions will fund the construction of four new classrooms and a greenhouse at the Cavalier school.

State funding comes from the Career and Technical Education Capital Projects Fund, a grant opportunity provided by the 67th Legislative Assembly to increase access to career and technical education by building or expanding existing career and technical education centers. The grant to North Valley CTC was one of 13 awarded this week. Others in the region included a $10 million grant to the Career Impact Academy planned for Grand Forks and a $1.2 million grant to the Lake Area Career and Technology Center in Devils Lake.

“I believe it’s a huge job of the schools and career and tech centers to retain our youth in our region so we can help fill the workforce. That’s the reason legislators wanted to invest in current tech ed,” said Hanson. “It’s a major piece of what we’re missing in the workforce to make these industries thrive.”

Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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