Bids are expected to be let next month for a new technical center in the Allen County School District, according to Superintendent Randall Jackson.

The 44,000-square-foot technical center, which could cost between $7.5 million and $8 million, will be built in front of Allen County-Scottsville High School, Jackson said. It will replace the current technical center, which was constructed in the 1960s.

The estimated cost is based on similar school building projects throughout Kentucky.

“This will provide increased educational opportunities for our students,” Jackson said. The technical center has been designed by Gary Scott and Associates architects of Frankfort. The plans have been approved by the Allen County Board of Education and the state of Kentucky, he said.

Once the bids are let and the project is awarded, Jackson estimates the center could be completed in 18 months. Depending on weather conditions and other construction factors, students could be using the new center by August 2014, the superintendent said.

Currently, about 300 students are served by the old technical center. With the new building, there are plans to add a construction management class to the curriculum. Jackson said a digital media journalism class is also being considered for the curriculum. The new facility will allow from 50 to 100 more students to take advantage of technical center programs, he said.

There will be three classrooms in the new center that will serve as labs for construction management, industrial maintenance and auto mechanics curriculums. Another classroom will feature drafting, and the remaining classrooms will host programs in marketing, business and health occupations.

The new center fits the “obvious need” in Kentucky for preparing students to be career- and college-ready when they graduate from high school, Jackson said.

The new technical center will be financed through the district’s bonding capacity and with money the district has saved toward the project.

The technical center is just one of several construction projects in the Allen County School District. About $20 million in scheduled renovations at Allen County-Scottsville High School are ongoing in year two of a three-year plan.

So far, a new administrative area, a new band and chorus room, a new library and an athletic facility including a weight room have been added to the high school campus. Also being renovated is the auditorium, and work is being done to upgrade lighting and heating and cooling systems, Jackson said. Many of the renovations were done over the summer and during fall break. Others are being conducted during school time. Students have been shuttled to other classroom space to accommodate the renovation schedule, he said.

“We’re excited about the prospect of new facilities,” the superintendent said.

Once the technical center is complete, the county school district’s facilities plan will also be complete, Jackson said.

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