The former Walker Army Reserve Center is loaded with options for the East Valley School District.
The building, at 3830 N. Sullivan Road, was acquired from the Department of Defense after seven years of negotiations in an agreement that requires the district use it for career and technical education.
The reserve center closed and was declared surplus by the Defense Department in 2007 when a $31 million Armed Forces Reserve Center was built at Fairchild Air Force Base.
In the fall, the Walker Center will house InTec, the district’s new project-based program, and district administration offices.
“This has to be a vocational school,” said Career and Technical Education director John Savage. The building, which is on 9 acres, includes classroom space, storage, a large multipurpose room with a roll-up garage door for big projects, and lockers.
There is also a kitchen, which still has coolers, freezers, ovens and stoves, where InTec staff members hope to offer culinary classes.
And Savage envisions the former gun range on the second floor as a space for work with lasers.
Savage said the administration can be housed in the building, since those employees will also be mentors to the students, bringing them real-world experience with accounting, human resources and more.
He said the location of the building is ideal for its students, since it is near the Spokane Business & Industrial Park. Students can complete internships with businesses there as part of their education. Savage and the InTec teachers have been meeting with representatives from Avista and Wagstaff Applied Technologies to set up a mentoring program. Savage said when students are working on projects, they need to be able to call someone who knows about the project or the technology needed to complete it.
At the entrance, there’s a huge walk-in safe. The staff hopes this will be a place to display student projects.
Upstairs, none of the interior walls are load bearing, so when the district makes its improvements, they can make classrooms any size they want. Savage hopes someday the students will participate in some of the design as part of their curriculum.
Plans are in the works for an elevator, to make the building comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Savage said the district is working with ALSC Architects to come up with a design and cost estimates. At the next East Valley school board meeting, Savage will give the board a presentation on InTec and the Walker Center.
“It’s different than sitting in a classroom,” he said.