Idaho Falls OK’s plan for career-technical hub

Trustees in the Idaho Falls School District have given initial approval for a career-technical education center.

The board last week OK’d a plan for a new stand-alone facility, which would streamline CTE courses for local students to one location, the district announced Friday. District spokeswoman Margaret Wimborne told EdNews that the district doesn’t have a current price estimate for the project, but will as the process to fully approve the facility unfolds.

“We’ll provide updates,” she said.

The facility would “increase professional learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom” and encourage students to pursue professional certifications, Superintendent Jim Shank said.

Approving the program is part of a broader push to expand the district’s CTE offerings, which include auto, certified nursing assistant, culinary arts and computer science.

These courses are scattered across the district. A stand-alone center would make it easier for students to access them and a new construction course and trades, agriculture and horticulture courses, the news release states.

The district plans to lease a facility to house the program, except for the auto program, which will remain at Idaho Falls High.

Trustees plan to grant final approval after the project is put out to bid. Next steps include:

  • Design work, which begins “immediately.”
  • “Bid packages” to go out in late winter or early spring.
  • Bids presented to the board for final approval in the spring.

If final approval is granted, construction will start as “soon as possible,” with a tentative opening set for Fall 2022.

“Our vision as we build this center is to forge strong partnerships with local industry,” Shank said.

Trustees approved a number of other facilities projects, including an electrical upgrade to Idaho Falls High, artificial turf for Ravsten Stadium and renovations to the district office basement.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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