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School district plans for regional high school, as MTI moves forward on trades center

SIOUX FALLS -- The state Board of Education approved a bonding package Monday for Mitchell Technical Institute to use for construction of a trades training center on the school's south campus.

SIOUX FALLS -- The state Board of Education approved a bonding package Monday for Mitchell Technical Institute to use for construction of a trades training center on the school's south campus.

The project will open the way for the Mitchell School District to convert the old north-side campus site into a regional high school for career and technical education. In other words, it will be open to Mitchell students and other students whose district officials think it would be a good fit for them.

"We'll move our programs over there as space allows," Mitchell superintendent Joe Graves told the state board.

The new MTI building is part of an overall plan to consolidate MTI's operations at its modern campus south of Interstate 90.

The trades training center will cost an estimated $19.25 million, with $18.5 million to come from the bond issue. Mitchell School District will provide the other $750,000.

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The new building will allow MTI to shift its construction trades, agriculture and power sports equipment programs from a 43-year-old building on the north campus.

MTI president Greg Von Wald said the target for completing construction of the 140,000 square-foot building is October 2013.

He said student services currently are spread across three MTI locations, making services more complicated to deliver and receive. Students also have difficulty moving from class-to-class on time when they have to travel from one end of the city to the other.

Von Wald said the recent reaccreditation analysis by the Higher Learning Commission looked favorably on MTI's close relationship with industry on training programs, as well as MTI's strategic plan and the involvement of students in the planning process.

He said the commission's recommendation that all faculty members have at least bachelor degrees isn't realistic because of the difficulty in earning a four-year degree in many of the trades for which MTI provides training.

"The fact is, that's not going to happen," he said.

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