TDT: THS career and technical center to open

 In In the News

One in a series on the new Temple High School CTE Center

Temple High School’s new Career and Technical Education Center will be ready for students once classes start Wednesday.

Around 80 percent of Temple High students take CTE classes, in subjects that range from cosmetology, culinary arts, law, construction, to auto shop and much more.

The old CTE building is a 65-year-old metal and brick structure, most of which will be torn down. The school is refurbishing the automotive section.

Classrooms in the older building are small and somewhat dimly lit. The new structure is about 120,000 square feet and features large windows and a lot of natural light.

“Just the contrast of that to this — our kids … they’re just not even going to know what hit them,” Christine Parks, chief of communications for Temple Independent School District, said.

CTE Director Denise Ayres said that the heavy emphasis on natural light was part of the district’s effort to make sure the new building is highly functional.

“Research does show that natural lighting affects ability to learn,” Ayres said.

Ayres said that the school hopes its CTE programs help students decide which careers are right for them, or not right for them.

The auto shop is not air conditioned, to make sure students know whether or not they will enjoy automotive work in a realistic business environment, and the law program hopes to help students consider whether or not they will enjoy being lawyers before committing to a four-year pre-law program followed by three years of law school.

“Really the idea of having those programs here is to expose them to those concepts,” Ayres said. “A lot of times when students get exposed to concepts they’ll learn ‘Yes, I really do want to pursue this,’ or, ‘No I don’t want to pursue this at all!’”

The old CTE building is detached, which was a security concern for Temple ISD for some time. The new center connects seamlessly to the school, allowing students to just walk down the hall to their CTE classes.

Also, in the areas where the school plans to offer some retail services — cosmetology will offer haircuts and facials, and vet tech students will do grooming — there will be locked doors separating the waiting areas from the rest of the building, ensuring that members of the public cannot just wander into classrooms.