New Greene County Career Center will be open for students this month

Greene County students will start back at the new, state-of-the-art Greene County Career Center on Aug. 25.

The $70 million facility is designed to be flexible, said Career Center Superintendent Dave Deskins.

“We are able to add and adapt programming to meet the needs of the market,” Deskins said. “As employers change, we should be able to change with them.”

Instructional space is adaptable, and there have been additional labs and classroom space built to accommodate future programming, Deskins said.

The building is the length of three football fields, Deskins said. A focal point in the new building is the large, two-story “Take Flight Lab.” The lab can be seen from the front office of the building and the cafeteria through floor to ceiling glass walls.

The Take Flight Lab will house programs such as cyber security and drone technology. There is enough space in the lab to fly drones inside.

“This will be a hub of activity when the students get in here,” Deskins said. “There will be robotics equipment and manufacturing tools everywhere.”

Also new this year is a hangar at the Greene County Airport for aircraft maintenance and mechanic classes.

Deskins said that the idea for this new facility and the hangar at a satellite location came about four years ago when he was having discussions with community leaders about the lack of career-technical programming tied to jobs connected to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The career center did a market study and found a need for workers tied to aerospace, aviation and manufacturing.

ExploreNew Greene career center to feature flexible, open space

Voters approved a 20-year, 1.03-mill tax to help pay for the new facility in Xenia. The building was designed by Levin Porter Architects, and Shook Construction is the general contractor.

“(The coronavirus) makes it hard because we can’t bring the public in to show them what they helped us to do,” Deskins said.

Students will go to labs in-person every other day because of the coronavirus pandemic. For the first quarter, seniors will take a full day of labs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Juniors will take labs on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

All instruction will be done remotely. Students will only be interacting with the other people in their labs; they will also eat lunch with the people in their lab.

About 730 juniors and seniors are enrolled for the fall semester. The majority of those students come from Xenia, Fairborn, Greeneview and Beavercreek high schools.

One new feature in the building that Deskins was most excited about was that many classrooms have a window into a lab, so that those in the classroom could watch what is going on in the lab.

“Now you can see in at any time, and it adds a layer of professionalism,” Deskins said. “The teacher can walk in or see you at any time, just like your boss can on a job site.”

Deskins said the Greene County Career Center is one of few programs to have a licensed veterinarian teach the veterinary science class. This program was previously housed on a satellite campus, but has now moved to the main Greene County Career Center campus.

On Friday, Buck Ross, the owner of Chapel Electric and a graduate of the Greene County Career Center, stopped by to donate some equipment for the school’s electrician program. The equipment and tools Ross donated were worth about $20,000, he said.

“I’ve hired a lot of Greene County Career Center grads,” Ross said.

About the donation, Deskins said: “It helps if we can give them some of the tools or technology that they’ll be working with in the real world, it helps them when they go into the industry.”

The new facility also has high bay labs where auto repair, welding and construction science labs can share or work together on an item.

Each of these labs have state-of-the-art equipment, Deskins said. The construction sciences lab has a Caterpillar simulator, where students can safely learn to drive and operate an excavator. The auto collision lab has a state-of-the-art paint booth to paint car bodies.

“Picture being a high school kid and this being your classroom,” Deskins said.

In the past four years, on-campus enrollment has increased by nearly 200 students, and students taking courses as part of satellite 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. The average salary of an aircraft mechanic is $68,000, and high earners in the field make more than $100,000 a year.

“Our goal is to keep kids here and businesses in the region get a stronger, more technologically ready workforce because of the career center,” Deskins said. “We want to get those kids ready for the workplace, and we want to make a positive impact.”

ExploreWork begins on new Greene County Career Center

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