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NORTH BEND — As freshmen walked through their class schedules on Wednesday, the North Bend Trade Building saw its first wave of students.

Garrett Holmes, the Career and Technical Education construction teacher, paced between finished workstations and surveyed the rows of desks in the brand new classroom as he waited for the next group of students during freshmen orientation the day before school officially started.

Construction teacher Garrett Holmes stands between work stations in the new North Bend Trade Building waiting for the next class to arrive.

“We had a tiny room for the class last year,” he remembered with a laugh.

Holmes spent most of the summer moving materials into the building for the year-old trade program, which began as the North Bend Trade Building was begin constructed. The program is set up to train students in three phases, after which they earn certificates that allow them to enter the workforce once they graduate.

“This is where we were always meant to be for this class,” Holmes said of the new building, which will house 45 students entering Year 2 of the program and 60 students starting at Year 1. “The limit for Year 1 of the program is 60 students. I don’t know if there is a waiting list, but I know students have said they tried to sign up for it but were told it is full.”

The entry-level students will learn how to work with concrete, masonry, drywall, electrical, communications and blueprint reading and how to use hand tools and power tools. The Year 2 students will begin more complex work, as Holmes described it.

“The kids will learn how to do plumbing, cabinet making, finish carpentry, site set-up, roof framing, and explore estimation skills on how they budget for jobs.”

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North Bend High School Vice Principal Jake Smith said the freshmen orientation is a tradition that has been going on for years and is way for students to break the ice and learn the campus.

“They get to go through a shortened version of their schedules,” Smith said. “They get a tour of the building and get to know their teachers.”

According to Smith, the freshmen class is relatively small compared to previous years, which have had up to 230 students.

“Right now we have about 180 freshmen,” he said. “It’s a bubble. We’re seeing a large eighth grade class coming up after them.”

As for Holmes, he helped freshmen learn which door to use to get into the new North Bend Trade Building and said he is excited to get the year rolling.

“This year is about taking it one step at a time as kids get comfortable with the new building and where things are,” Holmes said. “There is more space, so things are more spread out, but it is exciting. It’s going to be a good year.”

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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