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Leaders take grand tour of high school tech building

City Councilman Rick Almberg and Mayor Jim Slowik watch as student Drew Culver work on a small, outdoor barbecue for his metal fabrication class in the new CTE building at Oak Harbor High School.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
City Councilman Rick Almberg and Mayor Jim Slowik watch as student Drew Culver work on a small, outdoor barbecue for his metal fabrication class in the new CTE building at Oak Harbor High School.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

It was almost one year ago that Mayor Jim Slowik and other local leaders, broke ground at the site of Oak Harbor High School’s new Career and Technical Education building.

Teachers inspected the draft for the $54 million bond project, as they stood on the site of the future video lab.

After the 10 years of dreaming, and three years of planning, local dignitaries returned last week, to see the completion of the first phase of the high school modernization project.

The group included Slowik, police Lt. John Dyer, Jill Johnson, executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, city Councilman Rick Almberg, district spokesperson Joe Hunt and Principal Dwight Lundstrom.

CTE director Sandee Oehring gave them a tour of the shop classes, art rooms and computer-based classrooms such as engineering and photography.

Many classrooms were several times larger than their predecessors in the former, octagonal-shaped D-wing.

The metal shop grew from three welding stations to 13. And Frank Jacques’s pottery class expanded from six pottery wheels to 31 -— one for each student.

The group watched as students experimented with the new equipment. In the wood shop, a $30,000 high-demand industry grant bought students a cutting tool that prevents injuries. An electronic computer senses moisture from the human hand and automatically shuts off.

“It happens faster than an airbag,” teacher Tom Mueller told the group.

Almberg worked as the chair of the campaign committee for the CTE building, and is impressed at the variety of opportunities available.

He added that he wouldn’t be surprised if students crossed over from other districts to use the facility.

“Not everyone fits the university mold,” Almberg said. “We are missing locally trained students for industry occupations. I’m looking forward to the results five to 10 years down the road.”

The public is invited to a CTE building open house Wednesday, May 6, from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Community Events, April 2014

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