Seminole High School's two time-worn vocational education buildings will give way later this year to a new 19,500-square-foot structure that will include a wing for hands-on aircraft maintenance instruction.
The Seminole County School Board will vote July 25 on whether to accept a $4.4 million construction bid submitted by Mark Construction Company of Longwood. If the board approves, construction will likely start in late August, said Joseph Ranaldi, director of project management & facilities for Seminole County Public Schools.
"I believe we've got nine months set aside for construction," he told GrowthSpotter. "We should be wrapping it up in the spring of 2018."
Ranaldi said the low bid was $400,000 less than the $4.8 million the school system budgeted for construction. The overall project was budgeted at $5.7 million, Ranaldi said, with the money remaining after construction costs to go toward architectural, engineering and testing services, as well as new classroom furniture and equipment.
The two existing vocational education buildings were built in 1960 and 1970.
"From the standpoint of instructional delivery, the district felt it was important to update the career education building so we would be able to offer a couple of different programs," Ranaldi said. "Right now, all that is offered is automotive in nature."
The new building will house four career path programs: automotive maintenance and light repair; automotive collision technology; building trades and construction design technology; and an aviation program, most likely aircraft maintenance.
The building trades program has been retooled from the old carpentry classes to include an introduction to different trades: plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning, and carpentry.
The two automotive programs and the building-construction program are now being taught in the old buildings. They will get upgraded equipment in their new digs.
The new building will have four classrooms and a traditional paint booth for auto body work. Two smaller conference spaces will be used for mock job interviews, as well as real interviews with companies that want to hire graduating students.
"We're really looking at it from a total career perspective, preparing them to be ready for one-on-one interviews they will experience when they get out in the work environment," Ranaldi said.
Though the first footer has yet to be poured, school district officials have been talking to potential business partners about how to craft courses to create knowledgeable workers for the modern industrial workplace.
"The best programs out there are the ones with strong business partnerships," said Jason Wysong, executive director, education pathways and strategic partnerships. "We want kids learning what's relevant right now and what's emerging. And we want business partners to be involved so they will offer internships and employment."
Seminole High School already has three aeronautics courses that are taught in main-school classrooms in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University. They will remain in the main school building.
The new aeronautics course -- most likely aircraft maintenance -- will take up a wing of the new career building with a door large enough to admit a small, fixed-wing aircraft.
"The building is being designed so we can put large equipment in," Wysong said. "They had one door large enough so if we ever have need to really look at a small aircraft, we can do it. Whether the program ends up doing that, we'll see."
Seminole High, located in Sanford, is one of the county's oldest high schools. Build in 1965, the school underwent extensive renovations beginning in the early 2000s, but the vocational education buildings were not part of the rehabilitation.
They will be demolished next summer at the same time equipment and supplies the school wants to keep are moved to the new building.