ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) – In the coming years, Roanoke County Public Schools will have a new Career and Technical Education Center. The Roanoke County School Board, Board of Supervisors and a citizens’ advisory committee met Tuesday night to discuss next steps.
“We have contracted a 23-acre site that we hope will be the future center for the new Roanoke County Public Schools CTE Center,” school board chairman David Linden announced at the meeting.
The two-hour meeting was filled with discussions about what ETC will look like in Roanoke County going forward.
“Sometimes what they’re in class for in school doesn’t excite them, but some CTE programs might, so hopefully something clicks with these students and gives them the opportunity to find a career path.” , Linden said.
Roanoke County Public Schools has already purchased the majority of the location off Peters Creek Road. It will eventually replace the Burton Center for Arts and Technology. Several executives have described the Burton Center as outdated.
“It’s not designed as a CTE center, it’s not warm, it’s not welcoming. I’m sure a new center will spark some excitement in some students to want to explore some of these other CTE options,” Linden said.
After exploring two other CTE sites in the state, at Tuesday’s meeting, the Citizen Advisory Committee recommended that the total size of the combined facility be 238,000 square feet.
“This is a great day for Roanoke County. I believe this is going to change the way we develop the workforce in Roanoke County for the next 25 to 30 years, and that’s why this is so big and you can’t help but get giddy thinking about the results,” said Mike Altizer, chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee.
A few committee members felt the size was too big, but all members are fine with a new installation in general.
Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors, School Board, and Citizens’ Advisory Committee will work with community members to finalize what this will all look like over the next two years.
“They have contract land in Roanoke County, which I think shows our citizens, we’re committed to that, it’s not just lip service,” said Paul Mahoney, chairman of the board of surveillance.
Roanoke County Public Schools currently owns four of the five secure plots for the area. The first four are 23.37 acres and the last parcel is 5.33 acres, totaling 28.7 acres. A few of the next steps will include finding additional sources of funding for the project as a whole and working with local businesses in Roanoke County.
For more information on the project, you can find the RCPS press release below:
“The Roanoke County School Board has announced the purchase of land adjacent to Peters Creek Road between Airport Road and Burlington Elementary School. This site will serve as the location for the new Roanoke County Public Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center and will replace the existing CTE facility that houses the Burton Center for Arts & Technology (BCAT).
The site was selected based on recommendations from the Roanoke County CTE Center Citizen Advisory Committee. The Citizen Advisory Committee was appointed jointly by the Supervisory Board and the School Board and tasked with identifying potential sites, evaluating the proposed scope of the project, and exploring non-traditional financing options, including solutions alternative energies. For nearly a year, the committee worked to identify future needs for a new CTE center in Roanoke County and to locate potential sites for the new center. The committee also visited other CTE centers in Virginia to see how similar centers operate and what facilities are needed to provide state-of-the-art learning opportunities for students.
“It’s been an exciting experience to have,” said Mike Altizer, chair of the CTE Center’s Citizen Advisory Committee. “I would like to thank the committee members for their hard work and careful and thoughtful deliberations as together we searched for the right place to locate
this new CTE center. The committee learned a lot and gathered a lot of information during our visits to other facilities. I also want to thank the companies that came out and gave the committee valuable insights,” Altizer added.
“We are grateful to the CTE Center Citizen Advisory Committee for their months of work leading up to this moment,” said David Linden, Roanoke County School Board Chairman. “The committee has carefully considered not only our current needs, but also engages businesses in the Roanoke area to reimagine how the new center can serve as an engine of economic development for the area in the future,” Linden added.
“I commend the committee for its efforts to provide the best recommendations for a CTE facility,” said Paul Mahoney, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Furthermore, I appreciate the staff’s work in developing a solid financial model to support the project. We now have strong and positive actions moving forward, providing our children and grandchildren with more opportunities to live, work and raise a family in Roanoke.
The current Burton Center for Arts and Technology is home to a Governor’s STEM Academy and award-winning programs including the Center for Engineering, Motorsports and Welding, Center for Mass Communication, Culinary Arts, Construction Trades, mechatronics/robotics, health sciences, cybersecurity, and Center for Visual Arts. Students at five Roanoke County high schools learn marketable skills for post-graduation employment and further education in multiple fields.
“A modern facility for our CTE center will allow us to expand our programs to better meet the needs of the business world and provide better access to high-quality programs for our students,” said the Superintendent of Public Schools of the Roanoke County, Dr. Ken Nicely. “The new CTE Center is an important investment in our goal of graduating Roanoke County students who are what we call ‘Opportunity Ready’ – ready to take full advantage of professional, educational and fulfilling pathways to success,” said Dr Nicely. said.”
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