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In December, a crowd gathered at South Albany High School to break ground on a $13 million dollar bond project. And as spring rolls into the valley, the project is starting to bloom, with walls going up and tours being offered through the construction zone.

The project is funded by part of a $159 million bond passed by Greater Albany Public Schools and will include new career technical education (CTE) spaces, upgrades to the school's theater and an auxiliary gymnasium.

Last week, a tour went through the construction site and students were given a look at the space.

“It’s creating a buzz,” said Chad Angel, South Albany’s dean of students. “They’re getting excited and wanting to work in those spaces.”

There are 685 students enrolled in CTE classes and according to Angel, students can be enrolled in more than one. The work creates the possibility for students to take advantage of the new auto shop, welding lab, wood shop and outdoor fabrication lab.

“Foundational stuff is going on now to prepare for the new spaces,” said bond liaison Emily Valdez. She said the total guaranteed maximum price for the totality of the project was about $13.2 million and also included upgrades to the school's theater, specifically the lighting system.

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“Students will be touring the area and seeing the tools they’re already working with and it’s the field some want to go into,” Valdez said last week before a tour.

Construction is set to be completed before school begins in September, except for the auxiliary gym, which won’t be finished until January 2020.

The new spaces are the latest in the district’s investment in CTE. The Greater Albany Public Schools district recently created a CTE committee to advise the school board on the latest in CTE and how it’s being used in the district. A final list of suggested community members, business owners and educators for the committee is expected at an upcoming school board meeting.

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