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Somerset tech center continues toward fall 2019 opening
November 1, 2018

Somerset tech center continues toward fall 2019 opening

Meg Ryan, Salisbury Daily TimesPublished 10:00 a.m. ET Nov. 1, 2018On a crisp autumn afternoon, Somerset County officials walked the bare bones of the school system's new tech center.  

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the Somerset County Board of Education, the Somerset County Commissioners, the County Administrator and the Economic Development Commission visited the site of the construction of the new Somerset County technical high school in Westover.

Facilities Supervisor Daniele Haley and Superintendent John Gaddis led the tour. The building is set to open July 1, Gaddis said, welcoming students for the 2019-20 school year. 

“Next September when we open school we’re going to have students in the building," he said. 

Gaddis said construction is currently on the“sealing the envelope” phase which means beginning to put the sides and windows in the building. A majority of the inside work will happen in the winter and spring. 

Then, spring into summer, people will begin to see outside site work. 

The new building replacing the J.M. Tawes Technology & Career Center is being constructed on the same campus as the current building on Crisfield Highway, which is also the home of the Somerset County Board of Education. 

The new LEED Silver certified building will span about 100,000 sq. ft. with a design and construction budget of $42 million. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, Somerset students will be offered the best possible training in a variety of career fields. 

The $42 million budget is a combination of about a $7 million loan from Somerset County USDA Rural Development and $35 million from the Maryland Public School Construction Program, approved by Gov. Larry Hogan.  

The new expansive building will increase enrollment in the technical high school to about 800 students, divided evenly between an a.m. and p.m. shift

Gaddis said a technical high school is important for Somerset County Public Schools as many students head from graduation straight into the workforce. Preparing students for what they'll see in the careers is a priority for the superintendent. 

‘For us, let’s talk about career and college readiness," Gaddis said. 

The current center offers students a variety of departments: automotive technology, business, carpentry, computer technology & networking, criminal justice, culinary arts, health occupations, HVAC and teacher academy. 

The new building will include five new programs: light and heavy truck with Navy diesel training, pre-engineering, bio-med, interactive media and horticulture.

Welding will also be an incorporated department, as the technical school is looking to provide adult education classes as well. 

Gaddis said the school will bring in professionals to answer students' questions and talk about their day-to-day duties. 

“We’ll take every opportunity we can to bring those people,” he said. 

Walking officials through the construction was a way to say thank you, Gaddis said. He knows everyone has made a big commitment to this from the local level all the way up to the state level. 

“We just want them to see what their money is doing," he said. 

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