by Lisa Tome
Recently, about 200 students started their path to a career at Cecil School of Technology.
In August, that same group of students will have another new beginning when they become the first group to learn at the school's new site - the former Basell property at 912 Appleton Road, Elkton.
According to Perry Willis, executive director for support services for Cecil County Public Schools, the new School of Technology will be ready for the start of the next school year in August.
"We are a little past the halfway point with renovations. What's on our mind right now is equipment. The second semester stuff is now being tagged and will be moved for hook-up," said Willis. Work is also underway in getting the new roof on the future Natural Resources and agriculture class building.
Crews from Mullan Contracting of Baltimore are on site completing the $7.9 million renovation project. They are expected to wrap up by June.
Over the summer, equipment will be moved to the new school and the classrooms made ready for students to attend classes at the end of August. "It's on budget. We're pinching every nickel but not to the detriment of the students," said Willis.
Willis said that one of the unique challenges with this project is making sure that the proper square footage is allotted to each program area. "We did a good job with that we think. We tried to reuse as much as we could - doors, ceilings," said Willis. The building, a former business, has been developed into classrooms.
"The move will be a challenge. Moving into a new facility is always a challenge," said Willis. "Cosmetology will be new. And Culinary Arts will blow everybody out of the water."
The current Cecil County School of Technology staff will tour the school in March.
The CCST students won't be the only ones to move. Staffers who currently work in the school system's warehouse, food/nutrition, and transportation departments, will move to the former CCST site in Bay View as a cost-saving measure.
In January 2016, new programs and more students will move into the new school. Homeland Security, Interactive Media, Construction Management, Agricultural Sciences, Plumbing (which will separate from Plumbing/HVAC), and a BioMed program will all be in the new school.
The projected enrollment in January will be 400-420 students.
The eventual goal is to add more programs and to have 500-580 students at the new site.