Open to anyone wanting to learn!
Tuition based upon how much you want to take home! Students will work on their own projects, ranging from auto body and fiberglass to ground-up builds and restorations. Centaur 7 kits will be available for those interested in building this kind of car. Go-carts will also be available, ranging from race carts to “Mongoose” style sand rail/ dirt carts with full suspension. Classes will be given based upon demand from students, who otherwise will follow their own direction, with oversight by our experienced staff. Safety will be stressed, but students, not faculty will be the only enforcers of any required safety regulations, beyond signing the mandatory legal waiver(s).
Students will be encouraged to become self sufficient as quickly as possible. This means students will pay for their tuition by working on projects that will make money for themselves or the school directly. Students who have no money and no project of their own will work on school projects and help other students. Some students may only take a class or two, while others will be there full time for many months, working on their own project. Any person who has taken at least one class will have access to the schools facilities. Welding students will make shooting targets, Auto body students will find dented cars in their neighborhood and fix them. Fiberglass students will make Corvette logos to sell at car shows. Electronic students will repair and install home theatre systems. Students will look for apprenticeships regularly. Hot rodders will spend a lot of time in junkyards. Ultimately, we will buy wrecks and sell turnkey cars, which will serve as student portfolios.
I see a school where everyone is welcome, a communities knowledge base is widened, tools are available for nearly every job, and no tests are given. A place where anyone with a desire to share
their knowledge, on any subject there is an interest in, can teach, without permission from the State. Where students are not trained for a job, but rather trained to be an entrepreneur, to create
his or her own job, wherever he wants to go. Every welder will be aware of his “billable hours” while every mechanic will have a sense of customer service. Self reliance might include changing your
own oil, and reusing that oil in a heater you built yourself to heat your shop.
Where new technologies, especially “green”, sustainable and/or renewable would be encouraged in practice and theory along side past and present technologies to develop answers to questions that haven't even been asked yet. For example, students wanting to know how to restore a vehicle, or build a Hot Rod would have access to present and past technologies, (in the form of electronic and printed media, and of course, instructors with this kind of background) but would build their car with an awareness of not only different suspension setups, but hubless wheels.
Where integration is as important as taxonomy; math is part of automotive in the same way physics is part of welding. How much of each subject is taught is based solely upon what the student wishes to know, in order to complete his own personal quest. All learning is directed only by each student. If several students desire a specific instruction, it may justify an engine rebuilding course that covers measurements, tools, machining and the like, and the amount of math they need is the amount they get, if more is desired, then they are free to pursue their own course, but not free to force others to.
Students could build biodiesel processors and natural gas compressors to run their converted vehicles, lawn mowers and generators. Simple, lead-acid battery banks might power the inverters that run the welders, and could be charged by wind turbines and micro-hydro generators students build from scratch. Patching a hole in drywall and building a deck could be given as much or little time as replacing a toilet and soldering copper pipe.
The Crucible started in 1999 with a grant of less than $2,000 and a 6,000 square foot warehouse. I believe theirs is an excellent model and starting point. Once a successful program has been set up in Casper, I believe this kind of school would be needed everywhere.
How about a Free FilmFriday?
Movies with relevance (Max Headroom, The Matrix, The Fountainhead, Serenity, Captain Blood, etc) would be an excellent community outreach, bringing in new students, new teachers and more donations. Students could make a Rube Goldberg style popcorn maker, buttered by a device from Willie Wonka.