$9 million expansion comes to NEWTECH Skill Center




Posted on May 7, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 7 at 7:00 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--A professional skill training center that taught students from more than a dozen schools prepared for an expansion in May. 

Officials with the center said state funding to expand the facility would help save money for local schools. Leaders added the expansion would help broaden the programs they already had and help get more students on track for future careers.

READ: Groundbreaking for NEWTECH Skill Center project on Wednesday

A variety of different activities at the center helped students develop skills they could eventually use at a job. They could take wielding classes or even explore careers working with animals.

"This class is not only helped me figure out that this is the field I want to go into but it has also showed me the pros and cons of it,” said NEWTECH student Tawnessa Cline.

Instead of making each school district to create multiple centers across Eastern Washington, the NEWTECH center served all of them.

“All of those are expensive to build those lab spaces, so to draw from a wider area gets more bang for your buck,” said Greg Brown with Spokane Public Schools.

Officials at NEWTECH Skills Center said more and more of the classes were offering school credit for graduation. Some classes even earned students college credit.

Leaders from school districts across the Spokane area celebrated the expansion on Wednesday. Construction was beginning for the first phase of the $9 million expansion.

Leaders said some programs would get new workspaces and other programs would have more room in the old building.

"With this expansion we're going to promote the programs that are working best and expand those and then others that aren't working as well, they'll probably change those,” said KC Abbott, with the NEWTECH Skills Center.

State funding would pay for the project. Money raised from local school bonds could stay with each district.

"I actually look forward to coming to skill center on a daily basis rather than dreading it, by far this has been my favorite class,” said Cline.

The expansion was set to take place in three phases. The first phase was expected to be finished by the fall of 2015.