MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — A recent donation will give students in Mattoon a chance to build and drive a full-size, street legal electric vehicle as a classroom project.

Pilson Automotive Center donated almost $74,000 to Mattoon Community Unit School District 2 and LIFT Central Illinois. This will enable the purchase of a Switch Electric Vehicle full size kit, a complete, reusable kit that allows students to engage in every aspect of electric vehicle theory, construction, maintenance and practical operation.

Construction curriculum is flexible and can be taught in a 16-week semester, an eight-week after-school program or a two-week extensive format. The construction will take place at Lake Land College.

“I was looking for unparalleled, extraordinary experiences for my students. I found the Switch EV kit and knew that building an electric vehicle would be a program that would be unmatched compared to other high schools in the state,” said Facilitator Dan Compton. “I approached Pilson’s to see if they would have an interest in helping us with funding for our EV program. We began having really great conversations about what we could do in a partnership together and Mr. Pilson graciously offered to fund the entire kit. It is with amazing community leaders like this, that we can create amazing opportunities that will impact our kids in incredibly meaningful ways.”

Aside from the donation, Pilson Auto Center will also participate in the Leadership and Green Energy Program through tours, interviews, an academic achievement award and by offering internship opportunities to students.

“I think there is just a tremendous opportunity to impact the kids in our community and impact the community as well,” said owner Jamie Pilson. “We are glad to be a part of it.”