The new branch of the Skills Center received a new name – Spokane Valley Tech – and moved a couple of steps forward at the Central Valley School Board meeting Monday.
The board unanimously voted to place $25,000 in escrow for earnest money to buy the former Rite Aid building at 10722 E. Sprague Ave. The building currently houses West Valley’s Contract Based Education, and that district will continue to rent the space from Central Valley once the purchase has been made.
Superintendent Ben Small said he hopes the district will close the deal June 7.
The board also chose Architects West to design the renovations the district will need for the new center.
Central Valley schools will sell $3.25 million in nonvoted bonds to buy and renovate the building. The district will use per-pupil funding and the lease payments from West Valley to pay off the bonds.
One of the discussions surrounding the purchase of the building is what kind of programs Spokane Valley Tech will offer its students.
Representatives from CV, West Valley, East Valley, Freeman and the NEWTECH Skills Center have been looking into options including aerospace manufacturing and sports medicine, as well as fire science and cosmetology, the two programs already offered at the Valley satellite branch of the skills center.
They have been in discussions with Community Colleges of Spokane, Washington State University, manufacturing businesses in the area such as Wagstaff, and Greater Spokane Incorporated.
Jean Marczynski, executive director of secondary learning and teaching, and Gene Sementi, West Valley assistant superintendent, said the group is hoping to develop a program that will give students skills to get them into either internships or associate degree programs at the college level, and introduce them to hands-on connections in different industries to see if they really have an interest in that field.
“This is one of the most exciting things, I feel like, I’ve been involved with in education,” Marczynski told the board.
Sementi, who will become West Valley superintendent in June, also noted that some students may not want to miss their traditional high school experience. For these students, Sementi hopes to offer zero-hour classes and weekend symposiums at the center.
“It’s very exciting work,” Sementi told the board. “We’re starting something new from the ground up.”
Small said he hopes the center will open its doors as soon as January.