BOISE, Idaho – Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter provided major support for Lewis-Clark State College’s plan to construct a $20 million state-of-the-art Career-Technical Education (CTE) facility during his State of the State address at the Idaho capital on Monday afternoon.
In his speech, Otter discussed his proposed budget, which includes a $10 million designation for LCSC’s proposed CTE facility and named it among the major initiatives of his higher education agenda for the 2017 legislative sessions. The CTE facility would be located adjacent to the proposed new Lewiston High School in the Lewiston Orchards.
“This is a great start and we’re confident we can raise the additional $10 million needed to complete this project,” said LCSC President J. Anthony Fernandez , who was in attendance at the state Capitol building on Monday. “This project would be a wonderful complement to the new Lewiston High School initiative and LCSC extends its thanks to Gov. Otter for his resounding support.”
Otter said he remains committed to the goal of ensuring that at least 60 percent of Idaho residents between the ages of 25 and 34 have a college degree or certificate by 2020, and that the transfer of $35 million to the Permanent Building Fund for Higher Education facilities is an important part of this effort.
Though plans are in the early stages, Fernandez said LCSC is looking for a facility of at least 100,000 square feet which could potentially be a regional CTE center, serving both local and rural area high school students. The hope is to break ground in 2018.
With local and regional industry leaders continuing to report a shortage of technical workers and LCSC’s two current CTE buildings, which add up to about 80,000 square feet, having operated at capacity for many years, the need for such a facility continues to grow.
“We have waiting lists for programs like CNC machining, diesel, and welding,” Fernandez said. “But we’re simply out of space on our Normal Hill campus.”
Along with helping meet the needs of industry and providing more opportunities for students, the expansion will also create the possibility of a joint facility with the Lewiston Independent School District in the Lewiston Orchards.
“What we want to do is cooperate with the Lewiston School District to have a seamless program starting out in high school,” Fernandez said. “A program where students can start their career-technical education in ninth grade and have a facility nearby where they can take advantage of more advanced training and get a head start on obtaining a college degree.
“But we can’t do this without the support of the community and without the support of local manufacturers. Gov. Otter has put LCSC on a great path and we think it is entirely possible that both our facility and the Lewiston School District facility will be a reality, but we need the support of the community.”
LCSC administrators say official plans for its facility; including artist renderings, floor layouts, and location specifics; will be announced this month or next.