Groundbreaking for the new Greene County Career Center at U.S. 35 and U.S. 68 will be happening this month. These renderings by Levin Porter Architects show an emphasis on natural lighting and open spaces. CONTRIBUTED

New Greene career center to feature flexible, open space

Groundbreaking will happen this month on the new Greene County Career Center, a $62 million facility that will accommodate a new aerospace program as well as the school’s existing programs.

The 260,000 square-foot, two-story building will be erected on vacant land in Xenia at U.S. 35 and U.S. 68. The project is slated to be finished by July 2020 and open in time for the 2020-2021 school year.

Voters approved a 20-year tax in November to help pay for the new facility.

Shook Construction is working with the design firm Levin Porter Architects to create a facility that will be versatile and flexible as the curriculum changes over time, according to Shook Construction representative Matt Huelsman.

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Huelsman said over the past 10 years his company has been involved with close to $1 billion worth of new school construction, and “this one is unique.”

“It’s focused on aerospace. The design itself is going to be so flexible, which is important to a career center because they need to change their programs as the needs of the community changes and the needs of industry change,” Huelsman said.

Interest among parents and students is increasing, and so is enrollement, according to Career Center Superintendent Dave Deskins.

In the past four years, on-campus enrollment has increased by nearly 200 students, and students taking courses as part of satelite programs in the county’s seven public school districts has risen by more than 1,000 students.

Deskins credits the enrollment to increased awareness among parents of the costs for college and what kind of pay students can expect to earn after graduation.

“One of the things we see a lot are students that go off to college a year or two in they can’t complete, they come back home, they have some college debt but no real training for a future,” Deskins said. “Students who choose career pathways still have the opportunities to go on and further their education. The difference is they have a means by which they can help pay for that.”

Eighth-graders from Fairborn recently visited the career center and toured the existing building on West Enon Road near Fairborn. Career Center Curriculum Specialist Brett Doudican said when the students hear about the information technology programs and the aerospace program that’s being developed, “their eyes just lit up.”

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“Those will be the students that will be in their second year of our opening,” Doudican said.

To learn more about the career center’s programs and future offerings, you can attend an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 17 at the current facility at 2960 W. Enon Road.

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