W.C. Pryor Middle School recently received $14,500 in donations to establish construction program.

FORT WALTON BEACH — A new construction program was recently rolled out at Pryor Middle School.

According to a press release from the Okaloosa County School District, the school received $14,500 in donations to make the program possible.

Larry Kline, a local developer and businessman, was responsible for $10,000, with the other portion coming in the form of tools and equipment from Lowe's in Fort Walton Beach under the direction of General Manager Janson Thomas

"The Okaloosa County School District wishes to thank Mr. Larry Kline and Mr. Janson Thomas for the very generous support of the new construction program," the press release said. "The excitement in the room as the students shared and explained their design sketches for a 'dream home' was quite contagious. It was clear that (the) students were engaged deeply and were having fun while learning valuable skills."

According to Pryor Principal Brooke Barron, the program will give students who might not want to go to college an outlet to start getting certifications to join the workforce right out of high school.

"There's just really a lack of vocational skills training," said Barron, who added that the class was evenly split among boys and girls. "(Students in the course are) going to be using real construction tools."

Through the construction program, seventh-grade students will be able to gain certifications from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Next year, Pryor hopes to offer a two-week summer course for eighth-graders to get carpentry certifications, Barron said.