When Temple High School students return to classes this fall, some 80 percent will spend part of their time in a new, state-of-the-art Career and Technical Education Center.

The majority of THS students take CTE classes, and the new facility will offer a variety of courses, including construction, machine shop, culinary, cosmetology and veterinary programs.

Kent Boyd, assistant superintendent of finance and operations for Temple Independent School District, said the high school addition was designed with input from teachers, students and community members, as well as industry professionals in the various fields the CTE Center will teach.

“We’re appreciative to the taxpayers for this, because this was a major investment into our students,” Boyd said. “And I think it’s a fantastic facility that will serve our community and our students for years and years to come.”

The new facility is approximately 120,000 square feet and cost about $30 million, Boyd said. CTE director Denise Ayres said that while classes will remain small to allow plenty of time with teachers, students will have much more room to actually work in the new space.

“We’re also able to add classes here,” Ayres said. “I’m adding a certified medical assistant to our health science programs, and we didn’t have that in the old building because we didn’t have the space at all.”

The old CTE building was not connected to the main high school, which made it a security concern. This new structure connects seamlessly right behind the THS library.

“We’ll all be under one roof, with the exception of athletics,” Boyd said.

The section of the building used for training future emergency medical technicians will hold a model apartment, economy sized. This was one of the features influenced by outside advice — the school had planned to acquire a bed like one used in an ambulance so that students could practice with that, but EMT instructors at Temple College suggested a model apartment was a better use of resources.

“Our partner, Temple College, said … students typically struggle with getting the patient onto the board more than they struggle with doing things back in the ambulance,” Ayres said. “So we adjusted the design and structured it in such a way that it was going to benefit the students more.”

The “apartment” has no real plumbing, but it does have a mock bathroom with a toilet and bathtub, so students can learn things like how to carefully move a patient in a tight space after he or she has fallen in a bath.

Some parts of the building will, in addition to class and lab space, function as a service space for outside customers. Culinary students from the high school already do catering in the community, and in the new facility they will have a serving space that community members can rent out for catered events. Veterinary students will offer dog grooming services, and cosmetology students will have an actual salon where customers can come in for haircuts, facials and other beauty services.

With all of this space and all this brand-new equipment, the school district also has plans to expand its services to the wider community. Smaller districts already send some students to THS for CTE classes, and the district hopes more of these students will be able to attend the expanded program.

“We have built in growth space as well, and so because of that we’ll be able to partner (more) with our area schools, which is great for smaller school districts that aren’t able to provide this kind of thing,” Ayres said.

mwilliams@tdtnews.com