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Paradise USD 399 LogoUSD 399

--- Monday, November 20 = JH Basketball @ Natoma 4:00 -- Wednesday, November 22 to Friday, November 24 = THANKSGIVING BREAK - NO SCHOOL ---

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    Natoma HS Wood Processing program receives boost from Dane G. Hansen Foundation

    The Natoma High School Wood Processing class just finished cutting and drying a load of lumber that they will use for their projects this year.  Although this is nothing new to the Natoma program, which has cut its own wood since 2012, it was a first for the students in this years’ class.  This year, they did so using the new TimberKing 1600 band sawmill, that was purchased last spring due to the generosity of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. 


    The Wood Processing program began in earnest during the 2012-2013 school year.  The instructor, Chris Broeckelman was looking for a way to cut costs of the woods program, while at the same time, trying to enhance the education of the students.  An older, used TimberKing 1200 sawmill had been given to Natoma High School a couple of years prior by a local businessman.  The sawmill needed a lot of repairs, and after spending a year working on it, the instructor and students had it up and running again.  They began experimenting cutting up a few logs, just to see if it would work, and air dried the lumber in the shop rafters.  The wood did not dry very consistently however, and had a lot of warpage.  Most of the lumber ended up becoming firewood.  Mr. Broeckelman began researching more effective methods of drying the lumber, and presented to the USD 399 school board a proposal to build a dehumidification kiln to reduce waste, and speed up drying time.  The board approved it, and with the help of several volunteer staff members, the kiln was built during the summer of 2012. 


    For the next 5 years, the beginning first year high school woods students learned how to cut their own wood in class, and dry it in the kiln.  The more experienced students began wanting to use the locally cut wood as well, and soon almost 90% of the wood used in all the Technology Education classes was processed locally, normally salvaged from dying or fallen down trees.  However, as more and more lumber was cut, the sawmill’s age began to show.  Repairs became more frequent, and finding parts became hard, because production of the 1200 model had ceased in the early 90’s. 


    Mr. Broeckelman began looking at the option of purchasing a new mill, one that would not only last the program a while, but also one more similar to that used in the milling industry.  After doing some research, he went to the school board with a proposal to purchase a TimberKing 1600 sawmill.  The school board gave him permission to write a grant to try to purchase a new sawmill for the Wood Processing program.  With the support of the board, he wrote a grant to the Dane G. Hansen foundation to purchase a new TimberKing 1600 sawmill for the amount of $25,500 from the TimberKing company based out of Kansas City.  This was grant was approved in November of 2016 by the foundation! The sawmill was ordered in early December, and then delivered in late February.


    After cutting several loads of lumber over the summer to familiarize himself with the machine, Mr. Broeckelman and his students cut a load of green ash, hackberry, and quarter sawn American elm in September for class.  The wood was loaded in the kiln, and the students monitored the drying process for the next 15 days until the wood was dried to an appropriate moisture content. The students unloaded the wood in mid-October, placed it on the storage racks, and have since began using it to build their individual projects for this school year.

    The purchase of the TimberKing 1600 sawmill will help ensure that the program continues to thrive and educate the students of USD 399 for years to come.  On behalf of USD 399, and the wood processing program, a huge thank you goes out to the Dane G Hansen Foundation for their support of this project!

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  • The Roar Newsletter

    Our NHS Current Events class would like to introduce you to the first issue of "The Roar." This is our biweekly school newspaper that will keep you informed! Enjoy the articles!    To read the newsletter click on 

    The Roar - Issue 1

    The Roar - Issue 2

    The Roar - Issue 3

    The Roar - Issue 4

    The Roar - Issue 5



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    EXTRA! EXTRA! Order Your Yearbook

    Order your Yearbooks 2017-2018 for the low price of $30.   Contact Mr.Grafel, Bon Pongsuwan, Madi Nickels, Emily Cotterill, or Alicia Phlieger.  We also have 2017 books at $30 and older yearbooks available for reduced prices (contact Mr. Grafel).   Thank you for supporting the Graphic Design department.

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USD 399710 5th StreetNatoma, KS  67651

High School: 785-885-4849Elementary: 785-885-4478

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