by Dan Holland
Cuyahoga Valley Career Center will utilize a $9 million CTE Construction Grant it received from the state of Ohio in November to build an 18,380-square-foot addition to house new lab spaces for its electrical and HVAC programs. An additional 3,800 square feet of existing lab space will be renovated to house its building & property maintenance and mechanical design programs. Construction is scheduled to begin in September.
The school was required to provide $3.1 million in matching funds for a total estimated cost of just under $12.2 million. Ten percent of the cost is factored in as a construction contingency.
According to Superintendent David Mangas, CVCC currently has space for 88 training seats for first-year students enrolled in its construction cluster, and the school received 168 applications for the program during the current school year. The additions and renovations are expected to accommodate the increased demand for the program, he said.
“At this point, we want to up that enrollment,” said Mangas. “Because we’re building these new labs, we’re moving electrical from its current location into the new lab, moving HVAC from its current location into a new lab, and that will free up two additional lab spaces to open new programs to accept those students that fall over our current enrollment cap.”
The grant will aid the school in achieving its strategic goals, Mangas added. “One of the goals is to create clear pathways for our programs; we want parents and students to know exactly what they’ll be getting when they enter one of our programs.”
Construction programs are taught by trained professionals, meaning students can earn certification, Mangas explained. The school partners with a number of area apprenticeship programs to provide hands-on experience to students.
The CVCC Board of Education also passed a resolution in December to create a new program of parks and environmental resources, which will include instruction in heavy equipment operation, soil and water conservation, forestry and parks management. The board approved funding to hire a new instructor for the program.
“Students will learn how to use Bobcats and backhoes to do outside excavation, but it will focus more on park management and less on residential construction,” explained Mangas. “It’s a spin-off where, hopefully, some of those students who applied [for construction] might have more of an interest in that area and would sign up for that program.”
The new programs are scheduled to begin in the 2025-26 school year, said Mangas. “It takes a year to develop it, recruit it, make sure students know what the pathway is all about, get the teacher on board and get all of those elements handled before we start it up,” he explained.
High school student enrollment numbers at CVCC have slowly increased over the past three school years after a drop during the pandemic, according to Mangas. One goal is to increase the current enrollment of 912 students up to 1,000 or more, he said.
“With this grant, the option for career technical education is getting a lot of attention right now, which is a good thing,” said Mangas. “We really see ourselves as being a partner in the community; it’s right for the right students. We’re one of those options that will make young people successful in the community.”
CVCC partners with eight area school districts, including the Revere Local School District.
“Revere is super excited about this project,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs. “CVCC is to be applauded for securing the funds and working to remain relevant; we continue to be impressed with CVCC’s leadership and vision. They are an amazing asset to the region as they consistently evaluate the market and modify programming to meet workforce development needs.”
Jeff Harrison, superintendent of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District, also expressed enthusiasm for the additional spaces and programming.
“The Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District is excited not only regarding the forthcoming $9 million in lab space renovations and upgrades, but the investment this represents in our students,” he said. “A capital improvement of such magnitude will benefit students from our school district, along with students from other CVCC member schools, to help lead Ohio’s emerging focus on workforce development.” ∞