School shows off new tech academyMitchell's Career and Technical Education facility begins with 199 students.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The new Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy, popularly known as MCTEA, received its official welcome to the community Monday in a ribbon cutting at the North Capital Street location it shares with Mitchell Technical Institute and the South Dakota State University Regional Extension offices.
Virginia Lambert, of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassadors, lauded the academy for providing a regional center to high school students to take career and technical education courses.
Denise Hoffman, the academy’s first director, said MCTEA provides “a low-risk way for area students to test the waters as far as career and technical education go.”
“Our goal is to also include students from surrounding districts,” Hoffman told her audience in a brief speech prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Area school districts will be able to purchase slots for their students to take course offerings at MCTEA. This year, students from the Mount Vernon district and Mitchell make up the first class at the academy.
Hoffman said more programs will be added in the coming years.
“I plan to speak with area school administrators soon and let them know what we have to offer,” she said.
MCTEA, which operates under the same calendar as other schools in the Mitchell district, opened Aug. 20 and has an enrollment of 199 students in three programs: welding, biomedical science, and nutrition and the culinary arts.
Hoffman said there are 78 students in the welding program, 38 in the biomedical program and 83 in the nutrition and culinary arts program.
Students from the latter program volunteered their time to make refreshments for about 50 people who attended the event, and students from the biomedical program used computers to taking the blood pressures and cardiograms of those attending.
Hoffman said her school’s initial course offerings are full, but there will likely be some openings available for the spring semester. Students take regular classes at their school of origin and come to MCTEA for the special course offerings.
MCTEA will have the north campus to itself in the fall of 2013 when all MTI programs will move to the south Spruce Street campus.
As part of Monday night’s regular school board meeting, the board approved bids to renovate the MCTEA kitchen.
Since the beginning of the school year, students in the culinary arts program have been meeting in the Family and Consumer Science classroom-kitchens across the street at Mitchell High School. Hoffman said the approval of a kitchen renovation plan by the school board means that MCTEA will have a new, fully operational teaching kitchen ready for the spring semester.
The Mitchell school board approved a low bid of $341,427 from Muth Electric for the renovation.
Board President Theresa Kriese called the academy “a great addition to our school district. Our community is what makes our schools a great place.”
Excited board member Dana Price said MCTEA’s work-focused programs will give some students a reason to stay in, or to return to school.
“This is just the beginning,” Price said. “Just imagine all this five years from now.”