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NEWCASTLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Schools are looking for ways to get more students ready for whatever careers they choose. Lincoln Academy in Newcastle believes more and better technical education will help achieve that.

With the help of U.S. Senator Susan Collins on a shovel, the school broke ground today for the $2.7 million Applied Technology and Engineering Center. The money to build the new building is all coming from private donations, which school officials say is an indication of how much community support there is for the project.

The school says the Center is being designed to provide a wide range of technical classes for all students, not just those in the traditional voc-ed program. There will be new labs for automotive work, woodworking and metalworking, but also higher tech tools for digital fabrication, composites work and even robotics.

School leaders and teachers say the goal for the new Technology Center is to have most of the students in the school involved with technology in some form. Head of School David Sturdevant says they plan to offer classes in such subjects as architectures and boatbuilding, and bring in professionals from the community to help teach.

Teachers say they hope to develop coordinated programs between different subjects, using the example of science students also involving some technology students to help with experiments, or art students turning to technology to help them bring designs to life.

One school trustee told NEWS CENTER they feel a responsibility to make sure every student is ready for the world, regardless of whether they're heading to college or to work.

The school is hoping to be using the new building by March of next year. And while the Technology Center is being built, Lincoln Academy is also starting construction of a new dormitory for boarding students.

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