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District purchases $57K printing press for Crossroads

Crossroads for Youth residents Hakan (left) and Chelsea operate the new printing press. Photo by Andrew Moser. (click for larger version)
November 25, 2009 - A Heidelberg printing press recently arrived at Crossroads for Youth and will be used in conjunction with the Oxford school district's graphic arts program.

The press wouldn't have been possible without the board's unanimous decision to purchase the $57,000 press last month. After learning of the approval, Crossroads Principal Marty Johnson ordered the press the next day.

"We appreciate the support of the school board in helping us being able to pass this. We appreciate the help from Oxford Bank in partnering with us on this and we are very thankful to the community for all they do for Crossroads," Johnson said.

Everywhere Johnson turned for advice on the press, people kept recommending a Heidelberg printing press because of its durability.

Once the press arrived, Johnson wasted little time in getting the press up-and-running. He got it operational by the next day and immediately put students to work learning how to use it.

For Johnson, it seemed like the right area to head into.

"We currently have a graphic imaging program existing and we are constantly looking for new ways to expand the kid's vocational opportunities."

Johnson would like to use the press in order to help build the students' vocational needs. "Our number one main idea for the press is to develop kids for the vocational piece. There are a number of printing jobs available out there for entry-level press people."

He would also like to help the Oxford School District with some of its printing needs, as well as other establishments. "We are interested in being able to help out our district with their printing. We're interested in helping Crossroads, the agency, with their printing and area charities and organizations. We would like to be able to help out our community."

One of the examples that Johnson cited was helping print the forms for the student service department that the special education students need to fill out.

The press would also allow the graphic program to have another medium for printing.

"This is going to make kids marketable," said Graphics Program instructor Erick Pfeifer. "There's a lot of room for kids to grow and get into a true trade. If you are in the graphics industry, your graphics printer in China is the same. Screen-printing or offsets are the same. It is all the same printing in Argentina, Nova Scotia, Germany, the United States and Japan; you are laying ink on paper."

Marco, a resident at Crossroads, has been working with the Graphics Design program for the last six months.

"It helps me because I learn more about computers and more about the programs in the computers, so if I want to do something on my own I can try it at home or with another business."

Antonio, who is also a resident, recently got into the Graphic Arts Program. His favorite part about the program is making and designing things on the computer.

The program has been around for the last 17 years, and the kids do pre-and post-press, screen printing and basic design elements.

Pfeifer hopes to start off with printing the special education forms before advancing into future projects around the community.

"As we progress, we will do more and more. We will do a few outside nonprofit printing jobs through the community, maybe churches, maybe nonprofit deals. If there is a charitable organization, we will keep our costs way, way down and be able to help those people out."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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