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Lewis-Clark State's CTE Center 'An Open, Living Textbook'

The Idaho college's new $27 million facility left its duct work and HVAC intentionally exposed so students could see it. It will house programs such as IT, engineering, industrial electronics and auto mechanics.

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Credit: Lewis-Clark State College Facebook page
(TNS) — Lewis-Clark State College President Cynthia Pemberton hyped the school's Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center at the Valley Vision Board meeting Tuesday evening.

Speaking in the center's expansive auto mechanics shop with a view of the Lewiston Hill in the background, Pemberton referred to the building as an "education project."

The $27 million building was designed to educate in part by showcasing what is normally tucked neatly behind walls and ceilings. For example, its duct work and HVAC infrastructure are exposed so both students and visitors can see its guts. The intention was to make the 87,000-square-foot structure "an open, living textbook," she said.

"The idea being, really, to make it so that we bring to life this notion of connecting learning to life, and ultimately learning to earning," Pemberton said.

She said its proximity to Lewiston High School and its DeAtley Career Technical Center allows students to literally walk across the street to continue their education. The building will allow the college to double enrollment in programs housed there, including auto mechanics, HVAC, CNC or computer numerical control, industrial electronics, engineering technology and information technology. And the new structure frees up space at the Normal Hill Campus where some career technical education programs like diesel mechanics and welding remain.

"We are poised and ready to be able to serve the community and put out more graduates, more individuals and certificates to meet the needs of our valley and region," she said.

Valley Vision is a regional economic development organization that attempts to recruit new business to the area and retain already established operations.

Troy Ledgerwood, president of Valley Vision, said the organization is actively recruiting a new chief executive officer. Scott Corbin, the former head of the organization, was recently hired to be the general manager of the Port of Lewiston.

Ledgerwood said the group has recently worked to connect regional hospitals with schools like LCSC and Walla Walla Community College to help them fill open positions in the medical field. It has also worked to make sure commercial property owners in the area are prominently listing their open properties and said the group is in the final stages of working with a manufacturing business that is interested in moving to the Valley.

"I can't say much more than that," he said.

©2022 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.