Lansing — At the northwest corner of Lake Huron, in the eastern Upper Peninsula, is an 80-square-mile town of 240 people, one phone booth and one boat-building school.

That school is growing explosively, bringing the entire community along with it. 

Experts estimate that a planned expansion of the Great Lakes Boat Building School could bring an additional $2.5 million to residents of Cedarville.

The small town has a rich history of wooden boat building and repair. For over a century, wooden boats have been the primary mode of transportation around the nearby Les Cheneaux Islands. As the boating crafters grew older, the artful skill risked being lost.

To keep its wooden boat building heritage alive, the Cedarville community founded the school in 2005.

“In all of these academic qualifications we have for high school students, we have neglected our need for tradespeople,” said Ken Drenth, the former Great Lakes Boat Building School president and director of the Les Cheneaux Islands Community Foundation. 

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