NORTH BEND — The North Bend School District has three big tasks ahead of it in order to finish its new trade school building. The first is finalizing the last details of what the building will look like.
Earlier this month, North Bend High School Principal Bill Lucero, along with Vice Principal Jake Smith and architect Joe Slack with HGE visited different school districts to check out other trade buildings and curriculums. One of the schools included Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland.
“We’re close to finalizing what the building will look like,” Smith said. “The design of the building hinges on our financial situation.”
The district received a Career and Technical Education grant for $336,000, which is braided into CTE Measure 98 funds. Of those Measure 98 funds, the district plans on spending about $600,000, so in total about $1 million will be used to pay for the new trade building over two years.
The second and third tasks go hand-in-hand.
“We’ve been working on the curriculum, which depends on who we hire,” Smith said. “It depends on their skills for what we decide to spend on our curriculum.”
As for other progress being done on the new building, Slack is still drawing up plans but the district is meeting with him almost weekly. Lucero plans on getting permits to start building soon, though construction isn’t expected to start until spring.
The future North Bend Trade Center has been a dream of the district for years. In a previous interview, Lucero explained that the reason behind it is to create a trade program just as successful as the high school’s college bound program.
This way the high school can work with staff and community partners to together provide skills needed to gain employment beyond entry level jobs.
“We don’t want people to make $10 or $11 an hour, we want them to have a family-wage job,” Lucero told the school board, as The World reported in December. “We want to put kids in a field where they can have a family and earn a great wage and still stay around here. We want to build those trade programs so our students can be successful.”
The new building is expected to be built on the North Bend High School campus where two sheds already exist near the parking lot.
On Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. in the Hall of Champions, the district is hosting a dinner to not only thank local business sponsors for becoming partners in this endeavor, but to inform them on what has been done so far to make it a reality and ask for their participation.
“We want their input in what they want to see in our students the skills that would make them ready to go out in the trades and make them a useful employee, a higher level employee,” Lucero said. “We want them to use the skills the trade community sees as valuable.”
The dinner is to get business input on the curriculum the district is still developing.
“One suggestion for our business partners is to sponsor certain units of materials, so if there’s an electric company in town with surplus materials when they’re done with a job, this night is important for us to build that kind of relationship,” Smith said. “Our hope with this program is not just to build an academic program, but to prepare kids to work. We hope to establish apprenticeship programs that will lead to companies hiring people with skills. The benefit businesses gain is of qualified employees and we gain expertise or materials to keep our program going.”
The sponsor dinner next month will also showcase the district’s other CTE programs, including its famed culinary department headed by Chef Frank Murphy. Murphy plans on cooking a full course meal for guests, who are attending through invitation only.
“It will be an informative night,” Lucero said. “People will get to see some of the exciting things happening here.”
To become one of the business partners to the project, call the high school and ask for ether Lucero or Smith at 541-756-8328.