Keller Citizen

Career and technical education center poses unique challenges for Keller district committees

A career and technical education center poses some unique challenges for the Keller school district team creating conceptual designs.

A CTE facility is near the top of the list of items under consideration for a November bond package. Members of the bond advisory committee and the career and technical education committee met with administrators and architects April 4 to discuss the center.

Officials presented a list of 17 possible programs and activities to include in the center design and asked for feedback from the committees, composed of parents, teachers, community leaders and administrators.

“These are the programs we need for the next five to ten years, but the building will be around for a lot longer,” said Superintendent Randy Reid. “Spaces need to be flexible enough that as the job market changes and the economy changes, you can convert spaces.

“If you don’t do something every five to ten years, then you’re not cutting edge.”

Based on input from the CTE committee, Casey Stone, director of career and technical education, ranked programs, with culinary arts, health sciences, law enforcement, cosmetology and automotive technology topping the list. Stone said programs requiring a lot of space and specialized equipment and those absent or not well equipped in district high schools now received priority. Officials also looked at student interest and future job growth.

Steve Hulsey, principal architect for education with Corgan, the firm hired to develop a proposed design and budget for the CTE center, said, “We have to design facilities so they’re flexible enough to adapt in the future. We have to be able to envision what is coming.”

Corgan designed career training centers and additions for Grand Prairie, Tyler, Northwest, Fort Worth and Red Oak.

Corgan architects will work with KISD officials and committee members over the next six weeks to assess program needs to determine the size and equipping of the facility, look for a potential site, develop a design and determine a proposed budget.

Clarissa Marchalk, a CTE teacher at Keller High School, said that the program currently is constrained by limited space, resources and schedule. Next year’s eight period day should give students more opportunities to take CTE classes, but a number of programs cannot be offered on every high school campus because of a lack of space, and short classes don’t allow time for students to go to another campus for a course, Marchalk said.

Peter Stamps, a Fort Worth resident and member of the last three bond committees, said the current process is a lot different from his previous experiences.

“We’re seeing a lot more input requested from us while in previous times we jumped right into specific projects. Now, especially with the career and technical education center, we’re getting a lot of background information. We don’t have a prototype for this,” Stamps said.